Posts Tagged ‘Victims’ law’

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

18/07/2012, 07:00:41 AM

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.


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