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New victims fund levy for criminals

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People who break the law now have to pay into a fund for victims of crime

People who break the law now have to pay into a fund for victims of crime

People who break the law now have to pay into a fund for victims of crime

Criminals are to be forced to contribute to a fund which could raise £500,000 a year for victims.

Justice Minister David Ford said the cash from the Offender Levy will enhance existing support for the victims of crime.

The new levy, coming into force on Wednesday, will compel offenders to pay between £5 and £50 into a Victims of Crime Fund as part of their sentence or fine.

Mr Ford said: "Over the past two years, I have introduced a number of reforms to improve services to victims and witnesses across the justice system.

"The introduction of the Offender Levy and the Victims of Crime Fund - in which those who commit a crime make a contribution to services provided for victims and witnesses - reinforces the work we are already doing in this area.

"There is no such thing as a victimless crime and the imposition of this levy will reinforce to the offender the impact their actions have on others."

The Offender Levy will apply to adult offenders sentenced in court or issued with one of a range of new penalty notices by the police. Prisoners who refuse to pay will have deductions taken directly from their jail earnings.

Mr Ford said the Government already invests significant resources in delivering services to victims and witnesses.

He added: "Money generated from the Offender Levy will provide an additional revenue stream to be used solely for victim and witness services.

"Through the creation of a dedicated Victims of Crime Fund, funding will be available to support projects for victims and witnesses in the justice process, as well as for local initiatives taken forward by groups working with victims in the community."

PA