Can someone else report the crime for
If I am a victim will I be able to say the effect that the crime has had on me?
Do I have to make a Victim Personal Statement?
What happens to the Victim Personal Statement after I have made it?
Who will prosecute the case?
Will the defendant be given my address?
Can I visit the court before the day of the trial to see what it is like?
What is the Witness Service and how can they help me?
What do I do if the trial is on a date when I will not be able to attend?
What happens if I cannot afford to get to court?
What about childcare?
Can I take someone with me to court?
Where will the defendant be?
How do I find out the verdict if I decide not to stay till the end of the trial?
Can I claim expenses for attending court?
As a victim, will I have a say in whether the offender goes to court or receives an out-of-court disposal?
How quickly will I know if the case has been dealt with by way of an out-of-court disposal?
The police prefer you to report the crime to them directly because you know all about what has happened to you and the full details of the offence.
However, the police do understand that if you have been subject to a crime which causes you embarrassment, distress or that you think they will judge you, then reporting the crime yourself can be very difficult. In these circumstances you can report through a 'third party reporting' schemes or by a trusted friend or family member. The police will ask the person reporting to encourage you to speak to them, but it is always your decision whether to or not.
Yes, in most circumstances. The police officer will ask you if you would like to make a victim personal statement (VPS). The VPS adds to the information you have already given to the police in your statement about the crime. The VPS gives you a chance to tell the criminal justice agencies about any support you might need, and how the crime has affected you, for example, physically, emotionally or financially.
It is entirely up to you whether you would like to make a VPS. You can add to your VPS at any time up to the end of the case. If you do not want to make one straightaway you can always ask to make one later on. For example, you may not know the full effect of the crime until some time after the event.
If you make a VPS, it will become part of the case papers. This means that it will be seen by everyone involved with your case. For example, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the defense (including the defendant), and the magistrates and judges at the courts. A VPS is particularly useful when a court is deciding whether or not to grant bail to a defendant or put conditions on his or her bail, as it can indicate the concerns you have over your safety if the defendant is released on bail.
After the file has been forwarded to the Crown Prosecution Service it will be reviewed either by a legally trained non-lawyer known as a 'designated caseworker' (DCW), or by a Crown Prosecutor who will be a qualified solicitor or barrister.
Designated caseworkers are supervised by Crown Prosecutors and deal with less serious cases where the defendant is expected to plead guilty at the first hearing.
If the case is more serious or the defendant does not plead guilty at the first hearing it will be allocated to a Crown Prosecutor. If the prosecutor provided advice on the case before charge, he or she will be familiar with the case. However, where the police have not asked for SFO advice before charge, this may be the first time the prosecutor sees the case file.
No. Your address is recorded on the back of your witness statement. The defendant or his solicitor will only receive a copy of the front of the statement.
Yes. The Witness Service can offer you a visit to the court and where possible a look round a court room before you are called as a witness. This service is free and independent of the police or courts.
Your Witness Care Officer will be able to put you in touch with the local Witness Service should like to speak to them at any point before the trial, or if you would like to visit the court. Even if you do not want help before the day of the trial you can use the Witness Service on the day you come to court.
There is a Witness Service in every magistrate's court and Crown Court centre in England and Wales. This service is run by Victim Support, and helps victims, witnesses and their families before, during and after the trial. The Witness Service normally contacts witnesses before the court hearing to offer its services. Trained volunteers from the service provide a free and confidential service including:
- someone to talk to in confidence;
- information on court procedures;
- a quiet place to wait before and during the hearing;
- someone to accompany you into the court room when giving evidence;
- practical help, for example, with expense forms;
- to put you in touch with people who can answer specific questions about the case (the Witness Service cannot discuss evidence or offer legal advice);
- a chance to talk over the case when it has ended and to get more help or information.
You can find details of the Witness Service in the phone book under the name of the Court.
It does not matter if you have previously turned down help from Victim Support and all their services are confidential and free.
You should inform your Witness Care officer immediately so that the SFO can decide what needs to be done.
You should inform your Witness Care Officer if you cannot afford to get to court. Arrangements will be made in advance to sort out travel at no cost to you.
Your Witness Care Officer will carry out a full needs assessment to identify specific support requirements, such as child care, and help make any necessary arrangements.
Yes. If you like, you can take a friend or relative to keep you company. They won't be able to get expenses (such as travel costs) unless the court agrees he or she must be there. For example, you may need someone to look after your child while you give evidence, or to assist you if you are disabled or if you are aged under 17 years. You can check this with the person who asked you to come to court. The Witness Service is also available to your family and friends.
Where possible, seating in the courtroom can be arranged for anyone going with you. If you are going to a magistrates' court, you can ask your Witness Care Officer to put you in touch with the court or the Witness Service. Or you can contact the court directly yourself. If you are going to the Youth Court, you can take a friend but they will not be able to go into the courtroom with you. If you are going to the Crown Court, ask the Customer Service Officer, or your Witness Care Officer.
In the magistrates' court, the defendant will either be sitting in the dock or on a bench near to his or her solicitor. In the Crown Court he or she will be sitting in the dock.
If the facilities are inadequate you should tell your Witness Care Officer and see what alternative arrangements can be made. Courts are subject to the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and must provide a reasonable alternative method of making services available to disabled people, where a physical feature makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of them.
Your Witness Care Officer will tell you the result.
Yes. You can claim certain expenses for travelling to court, and an allowance for meals and lost wages or other financial loss. The amount of expenses you can claim will depend on the length of time you have to be away from home or work in order to attend court. You can claim expenses only up to when the court says you are released. Ask your Witness Care Officer if you haven't already been given a claim form. The Crown Prosecution Service is required by law to pay your expenses within 10 working days from receiving your properly filled in claim form. In some cases advance payments can be made. If you need help to fill in the forms, ask your Witness Care Officer.
The SFO will always take into account the consequences for the victim of any decision not to prosecute, and any views expressed by the victim or victim's family. If you are opposed to it, a Penalty Notice for Disorder will not normally be issued. Your views will be taken into account when considering the issue of a simple or conditional caution, but you cannot insist on that type of disposal being used.
Your case officer will keep you informed. Ask him/her to advise you.