Proposals to restructure the government’s Victim’s Code have been welcomed by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

The Victims’ Code sets out the minimum level of service that victims of crime can expect from criminal justice agencies, and the Ministry of Justice has launched a consultation on proposed updates.

The revised code was published earlier this year and outlined 12 overarching rights that all victims should receive throughout their contact with the criminal justice system.

In its submission ACS welcomed the restructuring of the code making it easier for shopworkers that are victims of violence, abuse and crime to access support. The submission also called for further guidance for businesses on how the code applies, how to provide a named point of contact and what different options are available including the Impact Statement for Business (ISB).

Findings from the ACS 2020 Crime Report show that 83% of people who work in the convenience sector have been subjected to verbal abuse over the last year and there were over 50,000 incidents of violence estimated in the sector, with 25% of incidents resulting in injury.

The ACS Covid-19 Impact Survey revealed that violence and verbal abuse has increased in 40% of stores during lockdown.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the restructuring of the Victims’ Code to make it easier for shopworkers and retailers to get the support they need and communicate the impact that crime has had on their lives and communities.

“We are calling on the government and police and crime commissioners to do more to tackle violence against shopworkers by introducing tougher penalties, review the out-of-court disposals system and prioritising retail crime in local policing strategies.”