Dr. Baroness Helen Newlove LLD (hc) DCL

From horrific events, even those most affected can strive against adversity to achieve their goals

Relatable, real, and inspiring are just a few words to sum up the Parliamentary peer, campaigner and former Victims’ Commissioner, Baroness Newlove. On 12 August 2007, Helen Newlove’s world fell apart when her husband Garry was fatally attacked by a gang of teenage yobs on the family doorstep.

The murder marked a watershed moment and hit the national headlines for months. It took tremendous bravery and resilience as Helen fought for justice. To get to grips with what happened, she thought she’d like to do something to help crime victims and became a victims’ advocate. Ultimately, she became the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, but it’s been a rocky journey.  

Known for her warm, approachable nature, Baroness Newlove (aka Helen) is a renowned keynote and after dinner speaker having spoken before the United Nations, Government committees and regularly in the House of Lords.  Her life enhancing speeches leave audiences transfixed. Helen’s message is one of courage, determination, and hope, as she describes how she fought tooth and claw for justice and spurred on her loving daughters to strive in the face of adversity.  

Her journey from teenager fryer, working in a Mancunian chip shop, to shy housewife, bereaved widow, campaigner, and elevation to the House of Lords is living proof that it is possible to survive tragedy and emerge even stronger.  

When Garry Newlove was kicked to death in 2007, Helen Newlove was a shy, happily married wife. Yet despite her deep grief, Garry’s death made her bolder. It  was Helen’s moving speech in front of media, following the conviction of teenage hooligans that catapulted her into the spotlight, when she publicly pleaded with parents to take responsibility for their children.

Overnight, Helen was in demand from all sections of the media for her forthright views on anti-social behaviour and the savage damage it wreaks.  Inevitably, when the bad days hit, it was a monumental effort even to get out of bed. Then, she wept at home, and like thousands of women, put on a brave face for the outside world.

Personal tragedy is a natural time to take stock, but Helen didn’t give into self-pity. Determined to make a difference to how crime victims are treated, Helen was appointed Government Champion for Active, Safer Communities, and given a peerage by the Rt. Hon. David Cameron.

Best known for her role as Victims’ Commissioner for England & Wales (2012-2019), Baroness Newlove campaigned tirelessly to champion the cause of crime victims and witnesses. She travelled the country, meeting victims and listening to their stories.  

Lobbying high-powered ministers, heads of criminal justice agencies and Chief Constables, she published major reviews, shining a light on the failings of the criminal justice system. Holding ministers to account, she never wavered in her goal to deliver better treatment for victims.  

“As Victims’ Commissioner, I had no legal powers, but I had my voice, influence and access to those who do have power,” she reflects.  

Today Baroness Newlove is a respected campaigner, Parliamentary peer and deputy speaker in the House of Lords and Pro Vice Chancellor of Bolton University and author.

A popular pundit on national TV and radio, appearances include Today, BBC Breakfast, GMB, Victoria Derbyshire and Desert Island Discs are just a few.  As she always says, “Women are like teabags; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.”

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