What is the Victims’ Code?
If you have been a victim of crime, you are entitled to information and support from criminal justice agencies, such as the police, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Courts Service and the Probation Service.
The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (also known as the Victims’ Code) sets out the minimum level of service that victims should receive from the criminal justice system. It states what each criminal justice agency must do for victims, and the timeframe in which they must do it.
You are also entitled to support under the Code if you are a close relative of somebody who has been killed as a result of a crime.
Your rights as a victim of crime
Under the Code, you have the right to:
- be kept informed about the progress of your case by the police
- be informed when a suspect is arrested, charged, bailed or sentenced
- apply for extra help when giving evidence in court if you are vulnerable, intimidated, or a child or young person (this is called ‘special measures’)
- apply for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme
- make a Victim Personal Statement to explain how the crime has affected you and to read it - or have it read out - in court, with the court’s permission, if the defendant is found guilty
- be told when an offender will be released, if that offender has been sentenced to a year or more in prison for a violent or sexual offence
- be informed about taking part in a restorative justice scheme, should you wish to
- be referred to victims’ support services
- seek a review of the police or CPS’s decision not to prosecute.
We can help to ensure you receive all your rights as a victim of crime, as well as the additional support that we offer. Contact us to see how we can help you.
(Learn more about the Victims’ Code for those aged under 18 in this video by the Ministry of Justice.)
How to make a complaint
If you feel that your rights as a victim of crime have not been met under the Victims’ Code, you can make a complaint directly to the criminal justice agency concerned. For example, your local police force or the CPS.
The ombudsman is responsible for considering complaints relating to the Victims’ Code – but they won’t consider cases directly from the public. (Find your local MP