Of all the services that Victim Support provides, its role as a public lobby with the Home Office is the most important. Recognizing the fact that sound legislation goes a long way toward curbing violent tendencies, the organization is always on the look out for changes, amendments and revocations of laws pertaining to domestic crime and violence. In this way, Victim Support plays a broader role, influencing the lawmakers and public representatives alike. Hence, Victim Support is just a passive outfit, but a proactive advocacy organization that is always pushing for reforms in legal and judicial spheres (Whitehouse, 2001).
Victim Support’s role in reforming the criminal justice system is a very commendable one. It has been a pioneer in setting standards for the treatment of primary and secondary victims and in campaigning for the implementation of those new standards. Volunteers working with Victim Support come from a broad range of professional and socio-economic backgrounds. Yet, all its operations are seamlessly integrated. For example, “The organization works closely with professionals in the criminal justice system and beyond, and with a wide range of government departments, statutory and voluntary organizations. They put to use their professional contacts to represent the interests of victims and witnesses and to influence national policy.” (Corbett, 2001)
In effect, the national charity plays a proactive role in participating and working alongside “victim-related committees” in addition to working with other government agencies. At times, the organization’s volunteers try helping the judicial process by acting as witnesses themselves. Over the years, it has “responded to government and other organizations’ consultation documents and draft legislation” (Corbett, 2001). A team of dedicated researchers prepare statistics reports and other scholarly documents in order to keep all stakeholders informed about the prevailing conditions. Volunteers also conduct seminars and conferences to educate the general public about their rights. So, overall, the national charity in question has done impeccable work toward achieving its stated objectives and helps reduce crime related victimization across the United Kingdom (Smith, 2007).
Victim Support has an impressive array of achievements to its credit over the years. Its role in the conception and implementation of Victims’ Charter is a remarkable one. The organization has been instrumental in enacting the Protection from Harassment Act, Family Law Act, Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act and the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act. Victim Support’s lobby activities have also influenced Lord Justice Auld’s Review of the Criminal Courts. The national charity has also contributed to the framing of domestic violence Safety and Justice, a Home Office initiative. Furthermore, it played a decisive role in the enacting of Criminal Justice Act and the Sexual Offences Act (Smith, 2007).
Victim Support has also had success in bringing about changes in social policies. For example, “In February 2002 Victim Support launched a major new policy document as the focus for Victim Support Week. The new report, Criminal neglect: no justice beyond criminal justice, recognised that a lot had been achieved for victims of crime within the criminal justice system, but that victims’ special needs are hardly recognised in most other areas of social provision, such as health, housing and education.” (Corbett, 2001)
Also, when the government put forth its proposal to appoint an independent Commissioner for primary and secondary victims, Victim Support brought attention to a few deficiencies in the proposal. Subsequently, its suggestions have been incorporated in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill. The independent charity has also played a pivotal role in the government’s strategy for primary and secondary victims. The culmination of this cooperative effort was the publication of a new deal for victims and witnesses in 2003. So, in the final analysis, Victim Support’s role in public policy reform as well as its role in assisting victims of crime has been an invaluable one and deserving of merit.