Dame Vera Baird QC appointed as new Victims' Commissioner

13 May 2019

Dame Vera Baird QC will take over the role of Victims' Commissioner from Baroness Newlove in mid-June 2019.

Dame Vera’s responsibilities will include promoting the interests of victims and witnesses, ensuring that their voices are heard and holding government to account on delivery of its commitments.

As Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Northumbria since 2012, Dame Vera has taken an active role in promoting the views of victims, also serving as the Association of Police and Crime Commissioner’s lead for supporting victims and reducing harm.

Dame Vera Baird said:

"I am delighted to be appointed Victims’ Commissioner, it is an honour to have the chance to work with victims and witnesses to ensure that their voices are heard everywhere it matters.

I will be their champion, and I will work with government and the Criminal Justice agencies to implement the Victims’ Code when it has been updated, to bring national guidelines to local victim services which are delivered so well by my colleague Police and Crime Commissioners, and to make the justice system responsive to victim needs, whilst ensuring fair trials.

I will be very sad to leave my role as a Police and Crime Commissioner and my super staff, and all we achieved together with Northumbria Police. This new role will help me to build on my experience of victim and witness needs that I gained as a PCC and when I was in government."

Dame Vera Baird’s appointment will last for 3 years and her role will involve:

  • engaging with victims to build up a picture of how support services are working and how they could be improved
  • promoting the interests of victims and witnesses
  • encouraging good practice in their treatment
  • keeping the operation of the Victims’ Code under review

Baroness Newlove said:

"I am delighted Dame Vera has been appointed to succeed me. Throughout the past six years I have had the opportunity to work closely with Vera in her capacity as Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria and as chair of the Victim Portfolio Group in the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

Vera is a passionate and articulate advocate for victims, particularly the most vulnerable. She brings to this post huge experience and understanding of the criminal justice system, both as a lawyer and a former Solicitor General. I know she will work tirelessly and be a powerful voice for victims.

I look forward to supporting her in the years to come."

Rape Crisis England & Wales  wishes Baroness Newlove all the very best as she leaves this post and looks forward to working with Dame Vera Baird as she continues her important work.

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