Victims will no longer be prevented from accessing vital support or legal advice under plans to crack down on the misuse of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) or so-called ‘gagging orders’.     

Confidentiality clauses, or NDAs, can protect sensitive employment information, yet too often they are misused to silence victims – denying them access to justice or support services to rebuild their lives.  

Changes to the law announced today (Thursday 28 March) will clarify that NDAs cannot be legally enforced if they prevent victims from reporting a crime and will ensure information related to criminal conduct can be discussed with the following groups without fear of legal action:    

  • police or other bodies which investigate or prosecute crime
  • qualified and regulated lawyers. -other support services such as counsellors, advocacy services, or medical professionals, which operate under clear confidentiality principles.

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalk, said:   

We are bringing an end to the murky world of non-disclosure agreements which are too often used to sweep criminality under the carpet and prevent victims from accessing the advice and support they need.  

Our changes will clarify in law once and for all that these gagging orders cannot be legally enforced against victims to prevent justice from being delivered and their voices being heard.

Victims and Safeguarding Minister, Laura Farris MP, said:    

Sexual harassment is unlawful in the workplace, and it is unacceptable that a few unscrupulous employers have previously sought to construct confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements, that suggest victim cannot report a crime to the police. This has never been the case and today we are making that crystal clear in law.    

I want to thank all those who have campaigned for change in this area, including Dame Maria Miller, for their help in achieving this.

Legislation will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows.    

The announcement follows the launch last month of a campaign to raise awareness of the Victims’ Code.   

Through the Victims and Prisoners Bill, the principles of the Code will be placed on a statutory footing, and police, prosecutors and other frontline staff will have a duty to ensure victims know the services and support that they are qualified to receive – including the entitlement to be referred to a support service, receive updates on their case and to make a victim personal statement.    

The government is also continuing to bolster support services, delivering a 24/7 Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Line, quadrupling victims funding by 2024/25, up from £41 million in 2009/10, and using ringfenced funding to increase the number of MoJ-funded Independent Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse Advisors to around 1,000 – a significant increase by 2024/5.     

Source: Ministry of Justice

1 COMMENT

  1. Please why is Mr Sunak not doing what his people want?
    Can we ask what steps are Conservative Democrats going to deal with this shambles Mr Sunak is? Boris needs to be back in power now,and strong leadership. This is not to late to do. However you need strongly to fo very quickly.
    We need to have this now,in order to survive.

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