16 Jan 2017

Here is our own Kerry Chatterje's account of the British Society of Criminology Victims Network Conference 2017:

On 12th January I attended the British Society of Criminology Specialist Victims Network Conference 2017 at Northumbria University in Newcastle. Speakers included Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird QC, Dr Jacki Tapley of the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at Portsmouth University, Dr. Hannah Bows from Teesside University, Professor Marianne Hester from the University of Bristol, Graham Strange from the Victim Care and Advice Services in Cleveland and Durham and Zoe Jackson from Aurora New Dawn in Hampshire.

Vera Baird spoke about the Victims First scheme, which has designated people to identify people for whom restorative justice would be appropriate. She also talked about the evolving ways in which victims are being supported; a new fund will provide advocacy for victims, an important step to give female victims of violence a voice. Operation Encompass helps to support children who have witnessed domestic violence and Section 28 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act should mean that evidence in chief and cross examination can be video recorded and eliminate the need for witnesses to have to attend court.

Dr Jacki Tapley spoke about the Victim Update App being developed in Hampshire which will allow police officers to keep victims informed about the progress in their case. Dr Hannah Bows presented her research relating to the stereotypical images of rape victims and perpetrators, by looking at victims aged 60 and over. Professor Marianne Hester claimed that “The more vulnerable you are, the less likely you are to get justice.” This is very relevant to what we do at Triangle. She went on to suggest that for some, a more comfortable choice for some would be to drop out of the Criminal Justice System. Triangle Intermediaries can work with the more vulnerable witness to ensure that they are well supported within the judicial system.

All in all a very interesting and informative conference with a lot of exciting developments in providing support for victims of crime.