If you’ve witnessed or been the victim of crime, it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed. But help and support is available to get you back on your feet and guide you through the investigation process.
Here, you'll find the guidelines we follow to make sure we’re offering the best possible care, and where you can turn for further support.
What to expect as a victim or witness
All UK criminal justice agencies abide by the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. This is a set of guidelines designed to make sure victims of crime are given the best advice and support from the moment they report a crime to the sentencing of an offender.
Victims can expect to be:
- treated in a respectful, sensitive and professional manner without discrimination of any kind
- given appropriate support to cope and recover
- protected from being victimised again
- shown how to access information and support in future
A victim’s details remain confidential. Their address and other personal information is never made available to suspects or offenders.
Witnesses of crime are protected in a similar way due to a set of standards called the Witness Charter.
To find out more about how witnesses and victims of crime will be treated and other services available to them, visit the UK government’s website.
Going to court
As a witness or victim of a crime, you may be asked to give evidence in court. This isn’t as daunting as it sounds, after all, you’ve done nothing wrong.
However, we can make sure you get plenty of help and advice in the run-up to and on the day itself, to put you at ease.
We’ll introduce you to a member of the Witness Care Unit, a part of the Crown Prosecution Service.
This person will be your single point of contact throughout. They'll:
- answer any questions you might have
- give you all the information you need
- make sure you’re fully prepared
They can arrange a court visit before the day so you can familiarise yourself with the layout of the courtroom.
On the day, they can also make sure you arrive through a different entrance to the offender and wait in a separate area whenever possible.
If you’re feeling vulnerable or intimidated by the offender, the court can provide a range of special measures, such as allowing you to give evidence behind a screen or via a video link from another room.
To find out more about going to court as a victim or witness, visit the Crown Prosecution Service’s website.
Victim Support is a national charity dedicated to helping anyone affected by crime – not just victims and witnesses, but friends, family and anyone else caught in the aftermath.
As well as offering our own support and advice, we always recommend Victim Support’s free and confidential service to those affected by crime. Visit Victim Support to find out more.