Government deceit of victims laid bare

Victims of crime are missing out on support because a Government-funded assistance scheme was deliberately under promoted to stay within budget, National’s Justice Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“A Ministry of Justice Budget bid released to National under the Official Information Act reveals the Government was aware Victim Assistance Scheme was least likely to be accessed by those who needed it most.

“Any victim of crime that has wondered why it is so difficult to access support now has the answer: the Government is deliberately making it hard to access services.

“The sheer cynicism of it is outrageous with officials warning it would “erode public confidence and undermine the stated ethos of access to justice” if it was widely known.  

“Officials also warned the practice worsened “…access to services for victims who already face other barriers such as digital exclusion, poor understanding of government systems and societal disadvantage”.

“In other words, the welfare of the most vulnerable victims is being actively harmed despite Labour’s claims to address inequities in the justice system.

“Given violent crime has increased by 21 per cent since 2017, victims should be at the forefront of Minister’s minds. However, yet again, victims have missed on support they are entitled to.  

“It makes a mockery of Labour’s 2019 commitment to a ‘comprehensive system change over time that treats victims with respect and dignity’. Instead, not only have the Government failed to deliver them promised supported, they’ve been treated with contempt and disregard. 

“It’s clear under Labour victims’ needs are an afterthought.”