Victim Support Welcomes Bill To Strengthen Rights For Victims Of Insane Offenders
The passing of the first reading of MP Louise Upston’s Rights of Victims of Insane Offenders Bill is welcome news for victims, says Victim Support.
The Bill aims to ensure victims of legally insane offenders are treated the same as other victims of crimes. It seeks to rename the verdict of ‘not guilty on account of insanity’ with a new verdict acknowledging the offender did commit the criminal act. It also seeks to ensure victims of legally insane offenders will be notified if the offender is released from a secure health care facility and back into the community.
“The current law denies victims the closure of a guilty verdict, even where culpability has been proven beyond reasonable doubt,” says Victim Support’s Chief Executive Kevin Tso.
“It also denies victims of legally insane offenders comparable rights to other victims of proven crimes.
“The Bill represents a shift toward putting the needs of victims at the centre of these verdicts. It is a small but important change for those it affects.”
Mr Tso says Victim Support helps almost 40,000 victims of crime and trauma each year, and while legal insanity verdicts are rare, these cases are particularly challenging for those affected.
“We’re absolutely committed to ensuring all victims are placed at the heart of the justice system. Unfortunately, there are too many instances where this doesn’t happen.
“Victims of legally insane offenders is a classic example. Passing the first reading of this Bill as a crucial first step toward ensuring victims and their families can have closure simply through having criminal offending recognised.
“We hope this Bill is passed into law as quickly as possible.”