Your rights as a witness

If you have seen a crime and are required to attend a court to give evidence, you have the right to expect a certain level of service from the criminal justice system.

The Code of Practice for Witnesses of Crime  explains your rights in full. This document tells you what you can expect from each criminal justice agency, including the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts.

Key standards of care you must receive as a witnesses are:

  • being treated with dignity and respect at all times;
  • being informed of a main point of contact, who will keep you up to date with the progress of the case and will either provide support or refer you to relevant support agencies;
  • the ability to claim expenses for travel to and from the court and compensation for loss of earnings incurred as a result of attending court;
  • having a needs assessment conducted to identify any support you may need to help you give evidence during the investigation or in court;
  • receiving special measures if you are considered to be a vulnerable or intimidated witness. These may include allowing you to give evidence from outside of the courtroom via video-link. Read more about special measures on our Going to Court page; and
  • being given information about the court and the court process.

Unlike the Victims’ Code, there is no legal requirement to meet the standards for witness care set out in the Witness Charter. However, all the agencies covered by the Charter should comply with the standards wherever possible.

Voice is here to help you through all aspects of being a witness of crime. the court process – we will provide all the practical and emotional support that you need, for as long as you need it.

How to make a complaint

If you’re a witness of a crime and are unhappy with the level of service that you have received, you can make a complaint through the complaints procedure of the relevant agency, such as the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office or the Crown Prosecution Service