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Victims and Prisoners Bill becomes law

28 May 2024

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The Victims and Prisoners Bill received Royal Assent and became an Act of Parliament following its final stages in the House of Lords on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 May.

The Victims and Prisoners Bill aims to improve the support and guidance offered to victims of crime and major incidents, and those suffering bereavement, including through the appointment of specialist advocates. 

The bill will also implement planned government reforms of the parole system, including preventing life-term inmates from marrying and greater ministerial oversight of the Parole Board and the early release of dangerous offenders.

Wash-up period

Due to the upcoming general election, Parliament will be dissolved on Thursday 30 May. To prevent this bill from failing at the end of this Parliament, its remaining stages have been fast-tracked. This period of completing unfinished business before a general election is known as the ‘wash-up’.

The remaining stages that were considered were:

  • Third Reading, a chance to tidy up the text of the bill, on Thursday 23 May.
  • Consideration of Commons amendments, known as 'ping-pong', on Friday 24 May.

Thursday 23 May

Members speaking at third reading put forward amendments (PDF) to be discussed on subjects including victims rights in relation to personal data.

The bill then returned to the House of Commons for consideration of Lords changes.

Friday 24 May

Members of the Lords considered Commons reasons (PDF) for disagreeing to previous Lords changes on subjects including:

  • co-operation with the Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses
  • training for provision of support to victims
  • child victims of domestic abuse
  • data-sharing for immigration purposes.

Following the debate in the Lords, MPs' objections were agreed to.

Royal Assent

As both Houses have agreed on the text of the bill, it received Royal Assent later on Friday 24 May during the prorogation of Parliament. The bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).

Explore further information

Find out more about the issues discussed in the House of Lords Library briefing.

What's happened so far?

Report stage

Further examination of the bill took place in report stage over four days between 16 April and 21 May 2024.

Committee stage

Line-by-line examination of the bill took place during committee stage over eight days between Wednesday 24 January and Monday 25 March 2024.

Second reading

Second reading, a full debate on the key principles of the bill, took place on Monday 18 December 2023.

Image: William Cho / Pixabay

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