Defining the Voice of the Victim
Policing needs to define and prioritise the ‘voice of the victim’ within overarching force priorities alongside policies, strategic planning, and performance measurement.
There is no commonly accepted definition of ‘voice of the victim’ within policing. Participants outlined that it is not a widely used or a consistently applied phrase and is not perceived to commonly feature within force priorities.
- Voice of the Victim’ was interpreted in different ways by different personnel: concern this may give rise to individual interpretation and disparity in practice.
- Voice of the Child is more readily recognisable in policing – particularly by those in child-focused roles.
Some felt that force priorities are often understood to be associated with criminal justice outcomes, which reinforces the primary role of the police to be fighting crime. This affects the willingness/ability of some personnel to prioritise the voice of the victim.
- The presence of multiple priorities can constrain the ability of personnel to respond appropriately to victims - voice of the victim does not feature within force priorities which limits the ability of personnel to prioritise this over other tasks.
- Personnel were aware of their force priorities and reported that these were communicated, however some raised concern about the volume and method of messaging, leading to some information being lost.
What are the VKPP doing?
- VKPP are working to support development of an agreed definition, building on the initial scoping completed by this research.
- VKPP are currently looking at governance processes within forces to manage vulnerability. This work will consider how VOV is considered within this.
Any resources available now?
In the absence of a nationally agreed definition, the VKPP developed, in consultation with external stakeholders, the following definition:
‘the perspective of individuals subjected to, or witnesses of, crime. In order to deliver authentic policing (and other agency) services, it is important that all individuals are listened to, and their description of experiences taken seriously. By listening to, considering, and recording the ‘voice of the victim’, police can develop a better understanding of individual’s lived experiences. In turn, this can be used to help shape improvements of services delivered, criminal justice outcomes and their experiences of criminal justice processes, for those at their most vulnerable.’
Voice of the Victim NVAP action: NVAP-with-Interim-Measures-v3.4-External-FINAL1.pdf (vkpp.org.uk)
- Victims’ Commissioner (2017). Are Victims Satisfied? The Victims’ Commissioner’s Scoping Review into the Measurement and Monitoring of Victims’ Satisfaction with the Police. Victims’ Commissioner. Are victims satisfied? Part 1 - a scoping review - Victims Commissioner