In December 2021, the UK Government launched a consultation “Delivering Justice for Victims”. The aim of the consultation was to better understand and respond to the experiences of victims of crime, so they are better heard, served and protected; with draft legislation enshrined in the Victims Bills, currently in its second reading in the House of Commons.

The aim of the Bill is to ensure no victim should feel unsupported, giving victims a louder voice, and a greater role in the justice system. The consultation seeks to establish routes of redress if victims do not receive the support they are entitled to, whereas hitherto all too often victims of crime were treated as an afterthought, with their needs ignored and neglected.

That is now set to change after the Government’s recent announcement that the definition of victim will be widened for the first time to include recognition of children conceived through rape. This decision has been reached following a campaign by a woman who was born from a rape that occurred in the 1970s. 

The lady’s father, Carvel Bennett, was convicted of rape in his 20s and sentenced to 11 years imprisonment in 2021, aged 74, having evaded justice for several decades until the lady in question pursued her mother’s rapist, tracked him down and pushed for a prosecution in seeking justice.

In response to her campaign the Government has announced the Bill will be amended to ‘clarify children born from rape are entitled to support from criminal justice agencies including the police and counts and should be treated as victims in their own right’.

This is a significant change within the Criminal Justice System and amongst the first such recognition globally, enabling thousands of children conceived through rape to make a complaint, in their own right and to receive much needed support in the same way as other victims of crime.