The Victims’ Law Campaign Journey

In January 2013, after a long discussion with fellow campaigner Ann Moulds, I launched Voice4Victims campaign, a campaign to improve the rights of victims in the justice system and to ensure that those rights were legally enforceable.

At the start, those I met were sympathetic to the cause but all agreed that the Victims’ Code was a good vehicle for ensuring victims’ rights and entitlements and they would not publicly support my campaign. Very few could see that more needed to be done, that without the foundations of legally enforceable rights for victims, the victim’s journey would be littered with mistakes that would deeply impact their route to justice and recovery.

I knew from my own long, relentless experience as a stalking victim, that the code was ineffective and that I had no rights when navigating through the complex justice process I was forced to face. I met with the Victims’ commissioner, MP’s, other agencies and charities and yet most failed to see the importance of the Victims’ Law campaign.

Over time, the evidence from other case failings started to materialise and amass and this supported my notion that the code was failing to deliver for others too. A year into the campaign, I was joined by Harry Fletcher, who had successfully worked on both the stalking law reform and coercive control campaigns. He believed in the cause and gave his support. There was also Kate Waley from MAMAA UK and Eve Henderson from Murdered Abroad, who strongly supported the campaign for a Victims’ Law. They gave their time freely to helping me with pushing this campaign forward. It was Kate Waley who twisted my arm (literally) to go and hear Keir Starmer speak about his work commissioned by Labour, about proposals for a Victims’ Law. I thank Kate for pushing me into that room, forcing me to put aside my own personal views of the ex-DPP of CPS and listening to him speak. At the end of his speech, I knew that ironically the man I blamed for much of the CPS failings on my case, was the man to help move this campaign forward.

We met with Keir regularly and whilst he worked on his proposals and plans, Harry and I undertook the huge task of going through endless cases and cases and results from our Victims’ Rights surveys, cross referencing with the Code, in order to draft a comprehensive Bill of Rights for Victims.

In March 2015, with the victims’ bill completed, , Elfyn Llwyd , MP introduced the bill as a ten minute rule bill. The bill had cross party support but made no further progress, due to the election and Elfyn retiring. Thankfully, in September 2015, Keir, as a newly elected MP, agreed to take the bill and help strengthen it to include his own proposals. Together we worked on a ‘gold standard’ bill of rights for Victims of crime. This bill, which received cross party support, was tabled as a ten minute rule bill on 20th October 2015.

As the bill failed to reach second reading we worked on taking key aspects from the Bill and getting these supported and tabled as amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill. In October 2016, Baroness Brinton, who was sponsoring these amendments, held a conference in the House of Lords where victims including ‘Ivy’, gave powerful testimonies highlighting the failings they had endured on their cases and the awful impact these failings had on their lives.

As a result, the amendments were supported in the Lords and voted in on December 12th 2016.

In spite of this win, the Government refused to be hurried, even though they made a manifesto commitment to a victims’ law in May 2015. Their position unmoved by our work and our victory, as they re-iterated that the victims’ code was giving victims of crime, entitlements and rights.

Since the Lords vote on December 12th, Voice4Victims has worked tirelessly to ensure that the minister and the government can see the evidence from victims’ cases and the endless reports which clearly state the Victims’ Code is toothless and provides no real support for victims of crime. After a month of solid campaigning, the Government conceded on Wednesday 18th January 2017 and agreed to a 12 month timeframe of reviewing the code with the aim of primary legislation for victims’ rights and ensuring agencies would be accountable for failings.

This is a huge step forward and a big win for the Voice4Victims Victims Law campaign.

But our work and our campaign does not end.

Voice4Victims must now ensure that the Government fulfills their manifesto commitment to a Victims’ Law and honours the promise given in the Lords last week. We must keep showing the Government how the victims’ code is failing and demonstrate how a Victims’ Law would make a real difference to victims on the front line.

Many of these victims face terrible ordeals at the hands of the justice agencies and this week, one of our brave supporters, Ivy, shared her story publicly for the first time (Ivy Full interview with Victoria Derbyshire). In Ivy’s interview she relives the harrowing experience of not only the awful abuse she sustained for years, but also the awful treatment she received from every agency she came into contact with. The failings on her case highlight how the Victims’ code did not provide her with the rights and entitlements she was owed. It clearly illustrated how certain rights and enforceability are missing from the code which prevent it from being anything more than a well-intentioned document.

It’s for victims like Ivy, myself and for the thousands we have now encountered on this campaign, that we must continue this work. I am overwhelmed that 4 years on, so many now support this campaign and believe in a Victims’ Law and that victims must be placed at the centre of the justice process with legally enforceable rights.

It’s been a four year long and emotional journey where sometimes I felt as if I was ‘wading through treacle’. Those were the words Yvette Cooper said to me on the very first meeting I had about my hope for a Victims’ Law. She told me it would be like ‘wading through treacle’ and she couldn’t have been more accurate. I thank her for her first words of support. I thank Baroness Royall who also offered lots of support at the start for this campaign; to Ann Moulds who inspired me to do this much needed ground-breaking work in the first place; to Kate and Eve for championing me; Harry Fletcher for sticking around and helping me navigate the halls and processes of Parliament and introducing me to the law changers; Keir Starmer, who has given, and continues to give, so much guidance and support and is now in my opinion, brilliant; To Baroness Brinton, who is as driven as I am to make sure we win this battle and finally, the biggest thanks must go to Ivy and to all the other wonderful, inspiring victims turned survivors/campaigners who keep me going on the days where I think I’ve just had enough of treacle!

I ask that you all continue to support this campaign publicly, in articles, on your twitter feeds and continue to share experiences and stories with us, so we can add to the overwhelming evidence of why this law is needed.

We will be resurrecting the Victims’ Forum and sadly although Keir will not be able to be at the helm, he will be very much part of the work we do. So for those who share our vision of a justice system that is fair, equal, transparent and balanced for all, please do get involved and help us reach the finishing line – a VICTIMS LAW.

Listen to Claire Waxman & Baroness Brinton discuss Ivy’s case on Victoria Derbyshire Show and why Victims’ Law is needed

Ivy Full interview with Victoria Derbyshire


  1. What Claire has achieved has been remarkable , but unfortunately she has battled the regressive mind set of an uncaring Government. The UK Government is legally obliged to take ensure the statutory protection of victims. Let me remind you of the false and failed promises of the past.

    In 1999 Jack Straw publicly announced, ‘For too long victims of crime have not been given a proper support and protection they deserve. This must change. I am determined to ensure that their needs are placed at the very heart of the criminal justice system’

    Queens speech in 2002 ‘At the heart of my Government’s legislative programme is a commitment to reform and rebalance the criminal justice system to deliver justice for all and to safeguard the interests of victims, witnesses and communities’

    In 2006, the Queen stated ‘My Government will put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system’

    In 2008 the Home Office announced, ‘We will put victims and witnesses at the heart of the criminal justice system and ensure they see justice done more often and more quickly. We will support and inform them, and empower both victims and witnesses to give their best evidence in the most secure environment possible’

    In 2011 The Home Office after failing to fulfil their promise in 2008, reiterated their intention, ‘We will improve victim satisfaction with the Police and victim and witness satisfaction with the Criminal Justice System’

    This is 2016, how many more times must the democratic public in England & Wales have to listen to empty words.

    Ann Moulds
    Founder and CEO of Action Against Stalking

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