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Your rights as a victim or witness
If you’ve been a victim of crime you have the right to receive a certain level of service from the criminal justice system.
Your rights are explained in the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. The Code tells you what you can expect from each criminal justice agency, including the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts.
The main rights you should receive are:
- A victim must receive written acknowledgement confirming that they have reported a criminal offence. The note must include the basic details of the reported offence;
- The victim’s needs must be assessed and where additional support is needed a referral can be made to the appropriate support services. The following categories of victim are entitled to an enhanced level of service: victims aged under 18, victims of the most serious crimes and victims who are vulnerable, intimidated or persistently targeted;
- The victim should receive information regarding the investigation in simple and accessible language;
- The victim should be made aware that they may be accompanied by an appropriate person (such as a partner, relative or close friend) at the first interview unless it hugely affects the investigation;
- The victim has a right to be notified of a decision not to proceed with or to end, an investigation into that crime;
- The victim has a right to receive information regarding the Northamptonshire Police’s Right to Review process.
Victims of crime who are called as a witness have specific legal entitlements when going to court.
- The right to request special measures in court if you are a vulnerable or intimidated witness
- The right to claim for any expenses incurred as a witness in a criminal trial
- The right to ask court staff if you can enter the court building through a separate entrance from the defendant and their family and friends
- If you do not speak English, the right to request interpretation into a language you understand when giving evidence as a witness
- The right to meet the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) advocate or representative and to ask them questions about the court process, where possible.
To read the full document please click here
The Witness Charter sets out the basic standards of service that you can expect from the criminal justice system in England and Wales as a witness of crime. Key standards of care for witnesses include:
- Having a main point of contact who will keep you informed of 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 help that you may need to 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 videolink, and the removal of wigs and gowns by judges, defence and prosecution advocates
- Being given information, or details of where information can be found, about the court and the court process
- Being treated with dignity and respect at all times.
A VPS is a statement that you can give to the police (or any agency or organisation assigned by the police to take the VPS on their behalf) if you have been a victim of crime. It is your way of telling the criminal justice system about the crime you have suffered and the impact it has had on you, whether physically, emotionally, psychologically, financially or in any other way.
If you have any questions or would like help with a Victim Impact Statement please contact us.
Last modified 30th January 2017