NATIONAL VICTIMS’ ASSOCIATION Formerly North of England Victims’ Association Reg Charity No 1040883
P O Box 111 Jarrow Tyne & Wear NE32 5TE United Kingdom Tel & Fax : 0191 423 2210 Website: www.victimsfirst.co.uk Email : email@example.com
28th July 2009 Ms Sara Payne Victims Champions Office 102 Petty France London SW1H 9AJ
Dear Sara, FORMAL COMPLAINT – PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT I write on behalf of the entire membership of this charity – hundreds of families bereaved through homicide - to complain at the treatment we have received from you as Victims Champion. Please regard this letter as a formal complaint. It is being copied to The Prime Minister, Jack Straw, Maria Eagle, Claire Ward, Dominic Grieve, David Burrowes, Lord Falconer, Baroness Harris, Fiona Harrow and selected media organisations. You have betrayed the long-standing personal friendships of scores of families since your appointment and we feel depressed and saddened by your lack of compassion towards a group of people who have experienced exactly the same trauma as your own family. The difference between yourself and those families we represent - and it is truly a chasm - is that you now have a previously only dreamed-of level of support for yourself and a lucrative contract. No-one would have ever begrudged you these things had you only done as you promised – listen to victims and take their concerns to the heart of Government. But in that fundamental respect, you have spectacularly failed, withdrawing from victims and refusing to take their concerns to anyone. Having given you the benefit of over six months to do or say something of value to homicide victims’ families, you have regrettably left us with no alternative. As you are well aware from the large number of Recorded Delivery letters which have all gone unanswered, we have done our best to engage with you and support you in your post. As you know, at the meeting on 11th July 2009, it was agreed that a line would be drawn beneath the events (or non-events) of previous months and that as you and Jim Narey had promised to provide copies of all the reply letters you both said had been sent to our charity, together with minutes of meetings in which you said you had actively mentioned our charity, we would all embark upon a new collaborative and mutually helpful relationship.
The truth is that since you made those promises, our emails to you are STILL being blocked – despite Government IT technicians apparently working on the situation for some weeks – Patrons Lord Charles Falconer of Thoroton QC; Commander Dave Johnston (Metropolitan Police Retired); Rt. Rev. Bishop Seamus Cunningham, Bishop of Hexham & Newcastle; Rt. Rev Bishop Ambrose Griffiths OSB (Retired) Baroness Harris of Richmond Past Patrons Rt. Rev Bishop Kevin Dunn, Bishop of Hexham & Newcastle (Deceased); Lady Barbara Chapman OBE (Deceased)
and emails to you, Jim Narey, Lissa Matthews and Fiona Harrow have gone unacknowledged. Astonishingly, the promise you made to supply the copy letters has been twisted into a situation which now requires Ministers and other officials to discuss the contents of the letters before sending them to us, a situation which could delay things by months and which is manifestly not what you promised. As you know, our charity has signed mandates from 125 bereaved families authorising us to speak on their behalf to Government Ministers and officials. No other homicide support group has such a unique and explicit mandate and it is a grave insult to all those bereaved families to have their representatives ignored in such a cavalier manner. Film of you making the promises referred to above, will be posted onto our website imminently and because you have driven us to speak to the national media, we now regard it as our duty to inform the British public of the way in which you have turned your back on hundreds of bereaved families. We formally request an urgent response to this letter and would suggest that such a reply be sent by Recorded Delivery to provide proof of its existence. This letter is being copied by Recorded Delivery to your home address. Yours sincerely,
David Hines Chairman
By Recorded Delivery