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Events · Howard League events

Howard League In Conversation with Dame Vera Baird DBE QC

  • Date: 27 Jan 2021

  • Location: Online

Howard League In Conversation with Dame Vera Baird DBE QC

Wednesday 27 January 2021, 4–4.45pm

In the fifth in a series of Howard League In Conversation events Frances Crook, CEO of the Howard League for Penal Reform will be talking to Dame Vera Baird DBE QC, Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales.

Bookings for this event are now closed.

Previous ‘Howard League In Conversation‘ events

Dame Vera Baird DBE QC, Victims’ Commissioner (VC) for England and Wales

Appointed on 24 June 2019 for a three-year term, Dame Vera is responsible for championing the interests of crime victims and witnesses and reviewing the operation of the Victims Code of Practice (the Code).

The Commissioner’s role is independent of government, although she was appointed by the Justice Secretary, in consultation with the Home Secretary and Attorney General, through an open recruitment exercise.

As Commissioner, she will regularly meet heads of Criminal Justice agencies, Ministers, Chief Constables, Police and Crime Commissioners, victim organisations, Parliamentarians and voluntary groups. She will undertake reviews into victim services and report on how agencies are complying with the Code.

In taking up the role, Dame Vera draws upon a wealth of experience combining political, legal and police expertise. She has a lifelong interest in fighting injustice and passionately believes our criminal justice system can only be considered successful if it delivers justice to both victim and offender.

Dame Vera is the former Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria having been elected to the post in 2012, and then re-elected in 2016 with a majority of more than 120,000. She was renowned as a strong voice for the North East, speaking up for Northumbria Police force, partners and communities at a local and national level.

She serves in voluntary roles as an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law at Northumbria University, Visiting Professor of Legal Practice at Newcastle University, Visiting Law Professor at London South Bank University and as an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford and Durham University Law School. She is the author of books on rape, female murderers, and women’s experiences in court.

Dame Vera previously spent much of her working life as a criminal barrister. She was called to the Bar in 1975 and took silk in 2000. She served as Labour MP for Redcar from 2001 to 2010. She was a Government Minister from 2006 to 2010 and Solicitor General from 2007 to 2010 – the House of Common’s most senior law officer. As Solicitor General she was closely involved in criminal justice policy and legislation and is particularly proud of her role in taking the Equalities Act 2010 through its House of Commons stages

In 2017 she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to women and equality.

She’s also the only honorary woman member of the Durham Miners’ Association as well as a Patron of charities RESPECT, Operation Encompass and Action After Fatal Domestic Abuse.

Speaking upon appointment of her new role as Victims’ Commissioner, Dame Vera said: “It’s an honour to have the chance to work with victims and witnesses to ensure that their voices are heard everywhere it matters.”

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