Victims of crime have a number of rights under the Victim’s code and this section aims to outline and help you understand them.
You can find out your rights in the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. This informs you what you can expect from those involved in the criminal justice system.
The 12 rights under The Victims Code
Right 1. To be able to understand and to be understood.
You have the Right to be given information in a way that is easy to understand and to be provided with help to be understood, including, where necessary, access to interpretation and translation services.
Right 2. To have the details of the crime recorded without unjustified delay.
You have the right to have details of the crime recorded by the police as soon as possible after the incident. If you are required to provide a witness statement or be interviewed, you have the right to be provided with additional support to assist you through this process. This may be bringing someone to the interview to help support you or breaks every 15 mins to allow you space. If this support is not acceptable the police should inform you of the reasons why.
Right 3. To be provided with information when reporting the crime.
You have the right to receive written confirmation when reporting a crime, to be provided with information about the criminal justice process and to be told about programmes or services for victims. This may include services such as Restorative Justice. In Hampshire this is normally detailed in the Hampshire Crime Pack which is usually emailed to victims. If you haven’t received this, you can access the pack here or speak to the officer in charge of your case. You can also find out more information about restorative justice by creating a free online account on Victim Support’s My Support Space.
Right 4. To be referred to services that support victims and have services and support tailored to your needs.
You have the right to be referred to services that support victims, which includes the right to contact them directly, and to have your needs assessed so services and support can be tailored around you and your needs.
If eligible, you have the right to be offered a referral to specialist support services and to be told about additional support available at court, for example special measures. In Hampshire and Isle of Wight, for the majority of victims this will be us, here at the Victim Care Service, however other agencies may be available for some crime types such as domestic abuse, sexual violence.
Right 5. To be provided with information about compensation.
Where eligible, you have the right to be told about how to claim compensation for any loss, damage or injury caused as a result of crime. This may be compensation that is issued at court or it may be through Criminal Injuries Compensation. You can learn more about this by creating a free online account through Victim Support’s My Support Space.
Right 6. To be provided with information about the investigation and prosecution.
You have the right to be provided with updates on your case and to be told when important decisions are taken. You also have the right, at certain stages of the justice process, to ask for decisions to be looked at again by the relevant service provider.
Right 7. To make a Victim Personal Statement
You have the right to make a Victim Personal Statement, which informs the court how the crime has affected you and is taken into consideration when sentencing the offender. You can find more information about how to write a Victim Personal Statement by signing up for a free account on Victim Support’s My Support Space.
Right 8. To be given information about the trial, trial process and your role as a witness.
If your case goes to court, you have the right to be told the time, date and location of any hearing and the outcome of those hearings in a timely manner. If you are required to give evidence, you have the right to be offered appropriate help before the trial and, where possible, if the court allows, to meet with the prosecutor before giving evidence.
This will normally be arranged by the Witness Care Unit who are a part of the police. They can make a referral to the Witness Service, which is an independent charity that offers support around court.
Right 9. To be given information about the outcome of the case and any appeals.
You have the right to be told the outcome of the case and, if the defendant is convicted, to be given an explanation of the sentence. If the offender appeals against their conviction or sentence, you have the right to be told about the appeal and its outcome.
Right 10. To be paid expenses and have property returned.
If you are required to attend court and give evidence, you have the right to claim certain expenses. If any of your property was taken as evidence, you have the right to have it returned as soon as possible.
Right 11. To be given information about the offender following a conviction
Where eligible, you have the right to be automatically referred to the Victim Contact Scheme, which will provide you with information about the offender and their progress in prison, and if or when they become eligible for consideration of parole or release. Where applicable, you also have the right to make a new Victim Personal Statement, in which you can say how the crime continues to affect you.
Right 12. To make a complaint about your rights not being met.
If you believe that your rights have not been met, you have the right to make a complaint to the relevant service provider. If you remain unhappy, you can contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (through your MP).