THE BLOG

Criminals Must Pay More for Their Crimes

31/05/2013 16:47 BST | Updated 31/05/2013 16:47 BST

It is absolutely right that criminals pay more for their crimes. We all know crime doesn't pay, but we increasingly expect it to pay back. Of course the true cost of crime isn't financial: it's the pain and misery caused to innocent victims and communities. Yet at the moment criminals contribute less than one pound in every six to supporting victims. Hard-working taxpayers provide the rest. This balance is utterly wrong and it needs to change now.

Offenders have to be punished for their crimes, but that's not enough. They should also be putting things right, helping to repair the damage they have done. The Government will be raising up to an additional £50million to fund support for victims of crime. But it will be the polluter paying - the offenders who have caused such heartache for their victims.

We'll do that by extending the Victim Surcharge and increasing it on the fines that criminals have to pay. This means that those behind the kind of persistent, antisocial activity that blights our neighbourhoods will be paying back more. That's a fairer deal for the taxpayer, but it will also make a real, practical difference to victims.

Support for victims of crime is not a nice-to-have: it's an essential part of our Criminal Justice System. That is why the Ministry of Justice provides over £50 million in funding per year to victims' organisations. It's also why getting criminals to contribute more is so important. The money will go to support local organisations that have a proven track record in supporting victims at their most vulnerable. It will go to children's groups and charities that give such incredible help to victims of rape, domestic violence, hate crime, burglary, anti-social behaviour and other violent crime - including murder and manslaughter. All of these organisations rightly deserve more money to ensure victims of crime get the support they need to recover and move on with their lives.

Offenders need to face up to the consequences of their actions. Meeting the victims of their behaviour and confronting face-to-face the harm they've caused is one immediate way of getting offenders to mend their ways. But the steps we're taking to raise more money from criminals are part of the same story: getting them to take more responsibility and bear a greater burden of the costs incurred by their actions. All of this will contribute to a fairer justice system, tipping the balance back in favour of victims, and getting criminals to face the harsh reality of what they've done.