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MA responds to Victims' Commissioner's special measures review

MA response

21 May 2021
MA responds to Victims' Commissioner's special measures review

The Victims' Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, has published a new review of special measures, exploring their current provision from the initial assessment of witnesses' needs all the way to trial. The review draws on testimony from criminal justice professionals and victim support services, outlining victims' and witness' wider experiences of court and special measures (including during the Covid-19 pandemic), and makes 21 recommendations on how to improve the provision of special measures and address barriers to access.

Responding to the review, MA national chair Bev Higgs JP said:

‘The Magistrates Association welcomes this timely and important review from the Victims’ Commissioner, and we urge the government to carefully consider its recommendations. With 90% of all criminal and the majority of family cases - including many that feature domestic abuse - being resolved in the magistrates’ courts, it is essential that special measures are universally available there.

'The recently passed Domestic Abuse Bill will in future significantly increase the number of cases coming before magistrates, as well as increasing the number of individuals eligible for special measures. Fulfilling the special measures needs of all vulnerable and intimidated witnesses at the earliest stages of the judicial process is not only crucial in supporting victims, but is also in the best interests of justice. It will increase the confidence of those participating in such cases - potentially leading to more successful prosecutions’.  




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