It’s time for a “victims law” where the state recognises its obligation to homicide victims

Last week David Hines won the “top of the policies” vote at Pragmatic Radicalism’s justice/constitutional reform event, chaired by Sadiq Khan MP, shadow justice secretary. The winning proposal was for a “victims’ law”

Almost twenty years ago, my wife Kathy and I fought a painful 3 year court battle to adopt our infant grandson.

The boy had been left parentless when his mother was killed and his father was sent to prison… for committing the murder.

Three years seems like an eternity for people trying to rescue a victimized child from the social services system.  The ordeal seemed even more unnecessarily lengthy (and outrageously expensive) since we were the boy’s blood relatives; his murdered mother was our own daughter.

The victims of murder live a lifetime of pain and anguish. At the corner pub, people whisper about them from the next table over.  Neighbours drop off flowers and then look away.  Lifelong friends, never sure what to say or afraid to seem happy in front of people in perpetual mourning, fade away.

We were extremely hurt by how the system us down – not only through the painstaking adoption process but also during the trial and criminal conviction process.

My anger grew when I saw my daughter’s murderer benefiting from the social service system (appointed counsel, fed, clothed, housed, and treated humanely). That’s where the tax payer’s money is going. The granting of legal aid to a murderer and the refusal of aid to the victims’ family was an injustice and insult.

The system’s betrayal was particularly pointed for me, because, as an elected magistrate, I had been a proud part of the mechanism of justice.  I was supposed to be the knowledgeable one. I was working in the system.

It made me feel that everything in this awful situation was geared for the criminal not the victims.

That’s why I founded the National Victim’s Association and why I went to the Pragmatic Radicalism “top of the policies” event to propose a new policy for Labour: a “victims law”

This would create a legal and statutory obligation to care for the victims of homicide that raise children resulting from a murder or manslaughter.

Under this policy, the families should receive all necessary assistance until the child or children reach the age of 18. That should include finance, education, legal aid irrespective of status,

The state should not place the burden on the secondary victim nor rely on their moral conscience to avoid helping these families.

The new “victims law” was backed by Louise Casey, the former victims’ commissioner, and would correct the ineffective care services currently provided as well as lessening the long-term psychological impact for co-victims.

The cost of this proposal would be minimal as only 4% of all killings result in relatives raising their children.

From my personal experience, and that of many people who have worked with the NVA, this proposal would be wholeheartly welcomed by society and a vote winner for a political party that backs it.

David Hines founded the National Victims Association (NVA)

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One Response to “It’s time for a “victims law” where the state recognises its obligation to homicide victims”

  1. Nick says:

    20-80,000 a year killed in the NHS were the NHS killed or contributed to the death.

    Time I think for the NHS to pay proper levels of compensation to its victims.

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