If road crime was treated as a real crime…
… then victims of road traffic crime would be treated as victims of crime. They would have equal rights, including:
- Right to information and support
- Right to be counted and included
- Right to be represented
But the harsh reality is…
- Those injured in crashes receive less information on the investigation and prosecution than those injured in assaults, even with the MoJ’s revised definition of victims of crime
- The MOJ and the Home Office do not include culpable road deaths in their definition of homicide. Those bereaved by law breaking drivers do not receive any support from the MOJ funded Homicide Service
- No statistics are collected on the victims of road traffic crime, including those killed. The government collates data on offenders and offences, but not the victims of road crime
- Crime surveys do not include questions on being a victim of a driving offence
RoadPeace holds that all road crash victims should be treated as victims of crime, until the contrary is proven
Road crime victims or road crash victims?
This is how other victims of crime are treated. This is also the principle the police adopted with their Road Death Investigation Manual in 2001.
If homicide included culpable road death, then families bereaved by law breaking drivers would qualify for more support. They would be offered a caseworker to help them understand the justice system, as families of murder and manslaughter already are. All bereaved families would also have the right to appeal the charging decision.
Those killed and injured by law breaking drivers would be counted and included in victim of crime surveys and statistics. We would know how many pedestrians had been killed by dangerous drivers, or cyclists injured by drink drivers, or motorcyclists run over by careless drivers.
Victims of road traffic crime would be included in government’s criminal justice strategies and programmes.
But road crime is not treated as crime. Victims of crashes involving criminal convictions do not have the same rights as other victims of crime.
What RoadPeace wants
An end to the systemic discrimination of road traffic crime victims.
- This would mean victims of road crime would have the same rights to information and support as other victims of crime. They would be counted and included in crime victim statistics, surveys, and strategies.
- Families bereaved by crashes should be offered caseworkers, as families bereaved by homicide are.
- Road crash victims to be treated as victims of crime, until the contrary is proven.
- Support and information should be provided for all crash victims. They may not be victims of crime, but they will all have been dependent on the criminal justice system for information and civil justice. Over £23million is raised from the victim surcharge raised from driving offences (half of all Victim Surcharge revenue) but only a fraction of this is invested in supporting victims of driving offences.
- Victim surcharge should be extended to NDORS, at least with those crashes where someone was injured.
- Information for the bereaved and injured should be improved at both the national and local level. Local guides should be funded by the PCC and developed with police, victims and campaigners working together.
- Crash victims, starting with bereaved families and those seriously injured, should be asked about their level of satisfaction with the police response, as victims of other crime are.
- Best practice FLO standards should be agreed to ensure consistent treatment of bereaved families.
What RoadPeace has done and is doing to help
- Our post crash guides for bereaved families include information on victims’ rights.
- We answer queries from families –common questions are on rights to information.
- With funding from local PCCs, we have produced local guides which include information on key rights such as to how to request a review of the charging decision.
- As a victims’ charity, founded by the bereaved and outraged, the rights of crash victims have always been a key priority.
- We raise awareness around the discrimination faced by crash victims. Over the years, we have published annual summaries of how road crime victims do not have the same rights.
- Our Ending the discrimination of crash victims campaign was dedicated to improving the treatment of crash victims.