A new Victims Code offering businesses more opportunity to show the impact of crime on their business has come into effect.

The revised code now includes a dedicated section recognising businesses as victims of crime, provisions for the inclusion of all businesses within the Code’s remit rather than just small businesses and the creation of ‘business impact statements’ to allow retailers to report the wider implications of crime on their stores.

The code will also entitle victims to say whether they want to read out their Victim Personal Statements in court, ensure all victims receive consistent and immediate access to support services and give victims a clearer means of redress if they feel they have not been given the support they deserve.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Victims deserve the best possible support to cope and recover from the effects of crime. They will have more help than ever before to help bring offenders to justice, with the highest level of service at every stage of the system for those who need it most. I want to create a fairer criminal justice system where victims have a louder voice and those who break the law are more likely to go to prison for longer.”

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman welcomed the new code. “Retail crime is not victimless: there is always a human and monetary cost,” he said. “Allowing individuals and businesses to reflect the impact of crime will help give retailers the confidence that sentences will fit the crime. This new Victims Code signals a breakthrough for businesses that will now be taken seriously by the criminal justice system when they are victims of crime.”