From Monday, new rules will force more criminals to pay towards supporting victims of crime, Minister for Victims Helen Grant has announced.
In a massive overhaul of the way services for victims and witnesses of crime are funded, the ‘Victim Surcharge’ will be increased and extended. Currently offenders only contribute around a sixth of the funding that supports victims’ services. Taxpayers provide the rest. Extending the Victim Surcharge is the next step in the Government’s drive to see offenders provide up to £50 million more each year for victims services. This is on top of the £66million central Government already provides.
Justice Minister Helen Grant said:
‘Only one pound in every six that the Government spends supporting victims of crime comes from offenders. Hardworking and innocent taxpayers pay for the rest. This balance is utterly wrong. And it is something that I am determined to change. Criminals create victims: as well as being punished for their crimes, they should help to repair the damage they have done.
‘For the first time, more offenders will literally be made to pay for their crimes. And the more serious the sentence, the more they will be forced to pay. Criminals need to step up and recognise the impact their crime have on others – and they, not law abiding taxpayers, should pay to help victims rebuild their lives.’
The money raised will go to support local organisations that have a proven track record in supporting victims at their most vulnerable. Among those that could benefit are childrens’ groups and charities supporting victims of rape, domestic violence, hate crime, burglary, anti-social behaviour and other violent crime- including murder and manslaughter.
Today’s announcement comes just days after it was revealed that, in the last year, around £800,000 has been taken from prisoners’ wages – and given to the charity Victim Support.