Section 48 and Schedule 6 of the Mental Health Act 2007, when in force, will extend, with modifications, victims' rights to cover certain unrestricted patients: (1) s37; (2) s45A hospital direction with expired limitation direction; and (3) s47 (patient transferred without restrictions, or restrictions have ceased). See Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004 applies to unrestricted criminal patients 3/11/08 for details.
The relevant legislation is the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004 Part 3 (“Victims etc”) Chapter 2 (“Representation and Information”). See also the relevant part of the official Explanatory Note. All section numbers on this page refer to that Act unless otherwise stated.
For a sexual or violent offence, the Act applies in the following cases:
A “sexual or violent offence” is defined in s45(2) as:
A “relevant sentence” is defined in s45, but is essentially any sentence of imprisonment/detention, or DTO, of 12 months or more, or any sentence of detention during Her Majesty's pleasure.
The Act is split into various segments: s35 relates to case (1) above; ss36-38 to case (4); ss39-41 to case (2); ss42-44 to case (3). The provisions relating to each are long-winded and almost identical. In the summary below, references to “conditions” and “discharge” apply to cases (2)-(4) above; references to “licence conditions or supervision requirements” and “release” apply to cases (1)-(2) above. The “relevant local probation board” is in the area of any proposed residence condition, the area of any supervising probation officer or, in any other case, the area of the hospital/prison/place of detention (See s35, s37(8), s40(8), s43(8)).
The local probation board for the area of the court (or the hospital in the transfer direction) must take all reasonable steps to ascertain whether a person who appears to the board to be the victim of the offence, or his representative, wishes
The relevant local probation board must forward any such representations received (by the relevant local probation board or the local probation board mentioned above) from a person appearing to be the victim, or his representative, to the persons responsible for determining the matters. In relation to discharge conditions (as opposed to licence conditions or supervision requirements) this duty only applies for the duration of the restriction order/limitation direction/restriction direction.
The Secretary of State must inform the relevant local probation board if he is considering lifting restrictions (MHA 1983 s42(1)), discharging (MHA 1983 s42(2)), or varying conditions; the MHRT must inform the board if an application (MHA 1983 s69, s70, s75) or reference (MHA 1983 s71) is made; the board must pass any such information to any person appearing to be the victim or his representative if that person has made representations or expressed a wish to do so.
Where a person appearing to be the victim or his representative has expressed a wish to receive the information as described above (when asked or subsequently), the board must take all reasonable steps to inform the person, where relevant:
The Secretary of State (or the Tribunal, if there has been an application or reference) must inform the local probation board, where relevant:
Duties to provide information relating to discharge conditions (as opposed to licence conditions or supervision requirements) only apply while the restriction order/limitation direction/restriction direction remains in force.
See the separate MHRT Victims Policy page.