Your rights as a victim of crime
If you've been a victim of crime, you have certain legal rights. For example, you should be kept up to date on the progress of your case and get clear information about whether you qualify for compensation. Find out what your rights are.
Information and services for victims of crime
When you talk to the police or if your case goes to court, remember that you have the right by law to:
- regular updates (at least monthly) from the police about your case
- hear when the criminal is arrested, charged, bailed and sentenced
- where possible, be kept separate from the defendant's family and friends in court
- get additional help (called special measures) if you are a vulnerable or intimidated victim, including screens so you don't have to see the defendant
- get clear information about whether you qualify for compensation
- be told when the offender is about to be set free (if they've been put in prison for more than a year for a sexual or violent offence)
More details are contained in the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. Just follow the link below.
Tell the court how the crime has affected you
If you've been a victim of crime, you can make a victim personal statement. This is your chance to tell everyone involved in the case (the police, the prosecutor and the court) how the crime has affected you.
The police officer dealing with your case should ask you if you want to make one. If they don't, you're entitled to ask them.
It's different from a witness statement, which is a record of what happened.
Once you have made your victim personal statement, it becomes part of the paperwork for the case. When they decide the sentence, the judge or magistrate will consider how the crime has affected your life, along with all the other evidence in the case. They also have to follow very strict legal guidelines about sentencing.
Crime victims can claim compensation
If you have been injured or your property has been damaged or stolen, you may be able to get compensation (money) from the person responsible.
If they have been caught and convicted, you can do this through a criminal court. You'll need to tell the police officer dealing with your case, and give them accurate details of the loss, injury or damage.
Another option is to take them to a civil court. It doesn't matter if the person is or isn't found guilty, a civil court will hear your case for compensation. However, it will cost you money to claim in this way. So it's wise to weigh up how much it will cost against how likely you are to win.
Either way, it would be a good idea to keep track of any:
- extra expenses that you've had, like medical bills or property repairs
- loss of earnings (money you've missed out on because you couldn't work)
- receipts, estimates or other documents
Compensation if you've been the victim of violent crime
If you have been the victim of a violent crime, you could be eligible to receive compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). To find out more, follow the link below.
Have your say on how crime victims are treated
You can have your say on how the police, courts and others in the criminal justice system treat victims of crime. Contact the office of the Victims' Champion.
You can do this by writing to:
Victims' Champion Team
c/o Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France, Zone 8.08
London SW1H 9AT
Or by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Victims' Champion is there to represent the interests of victims and tell the government where reform (change) is needed.
The team is interested in hearing about real-life experience of victims who have been through the justice system.
Note that the Victims' Champion doesn't deal with complaints. If you have a complaint against a justice agency like the police or the courts, you should contact them directly.
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