Making sure that victims have a voice

Victims of crime can often feel they are in danger of being forgotten in the rush to deal with the person responsible. Too often it can seem that the legal system is more concerned with the individual who committed the offence than the person who suffered as a result of it.

That is why the Victims' Charter was introduced two decades ago in order to place greater emphasis on the support given to victims and their families in the aftermath of serious crime.

The work done by the West Yorkshire Probation Service's Victim Services team is vital in this regard, making sure the voices of victims are still being heard long after a sentence has been passed.

They are kept informed as to what is happening at every stage of the offender's sentence and their views and concerns taken into account by those who decide if and when an offender can be released.

In the case of Ann Huskins, the knowledge that her views matter to those who decide the fate of her daughter's killer has been some small comfort in the years since Samantha was so tragically taken from her.

No doubt it's the same for so many of the 2,000 fresh victims of serious crime and domestic abuse that the Victim Services team here in West Yorkshire are sadly called upon to support every year.

Helping hand

AS well as the obvious health implications of cancer, there is also a largely unseen financial burden that must be borne by sufferers.

So, as well as providing funding for nurses, charity Macmillan Cancer Support also provides grants that offer a timely lifeline to cancer patients in their hour of need.

The money may go toward paying the heating bill, a special mattress for their bed, or simply to cover the cost of getting to and from hospital.

In other words the little things that can be such a big help to someone who's trying so hard to get their life back on track.

For Janet Freckleton it helped pay for a new washing machine after months spent cleaning her clothes by hand.

Now the Centenary Appeal, launched to commemorate Macmillan's 100th year, is aiming to raise 35,000 to provide similar grants.

Please give what you can and help make a difference to more people just like Janet.

Mustn't crumble

WE are always happy to celebrate West Yorkshire being the best in the world at something – even when the something in question happens to be growing rhubarb.

So we hope there's no shortage of chefs ready to display their skills at this year's Wakefield Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb.

We're world beaters when it comes to growing the stuff, let's show we know what to do with it too.

Sarah Champion MP

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