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Victims' Rights

Victims have rights, outlined in the Victim Code of Practice (VCOP).

I want to know…

what I can expect from the police

If you have been a victim of crime, we promise to:

  • treat you with fairness, dignity and respect
  • give you clear and relevant information about your case
  • keep you informed about progress on your case
  • tell you if we aren’t able to take the case forward for any reason
if I will be kept informed

Once you’ve reported the crime, a police officer will be given your case. They will be your main point of contact and will give you updates at least once a month until the case is closed.

You will be given a crime reference number so we can quickly identify your case and you will also be given access to TrackMyCrime, an online crime tracking system.

You are entitled to be informed of a decision:

  • to prosecute the suspect
  • to give the suspect an out of court disposal, such as any caution given by the police
  • not to prosecute the suspect
what is a victim personal statement

A Victim Personal Statement (VPS) gives you an opportunity to explain in your own words how the crime has affected you, whether physically, emotionally, financially or in any other way.

The VPS is an official document that will become part of the file relating to your case. If you wish to make a VPS please tell the officer dealing with your case or your allocated Witness Care Officer.

how the police investigate the crime

As part of the investigation, we look at all the information available including forensic and any visual or audio evidence.

If appropriate, we will send a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) to look for any useful forensic material, such as fingerprints or DNA. To find out more about Crime Scene Investigators download the leaflet CSIs - Your Questions Answered.

If you have been told that a CSI is going to attend to examine your property (this may be your home, your car or your business) it is important not to touch or move anything.

If there are no immediate lines of enquiry, your case will be investigated with other, similar cases. Often, by identifying patterns and similarities within batches of crime we are able to find the offenders, recover stolen property and stop the problem.

what happens after the investigation

When the police have finished their investigation, they can pass the information to Crown Prosecution Service who will decide if there is enough evidence to take the case to court.

what happens if I have to go to court

If you do have to go to court to be a witness, a witness liaison officer will contact you to let you know.

Our liaison unit take care of victims from the point where someone is charged with the crime through to the end of the court case.

Special measures are options that are available to help vulnerable and intimidated witnesses to give their best evidence in court. If you would like to know further information, speak to the officer dealing with your case or the Witness Care Officer.

how I get further support

If you feel you need additional support following a crime, Lighthouse can help.

Lighthouse is a multi-agency team of Police staff and independent support organisations working together to provide information, advice and support to victims of crime. You can ask the officer dealing with your case about this service and they can arrange a referral.

Alternatively, you can visit to identify support available in your local area.

if I can claim compensation

If you have been a victim of a violent offence, you may be eligible for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). To find out more visit Criminal Injuries Compensation Guide.

what happens when the case is closed

There are times when the investigation will have to be closed. This happens when no further lines of enquiry are found and no further information is available. However, this does not mean that the case is forgotten.

If we receive further information at a later date, we will review your case and may be able to solve the crime.

Related documents

  • PDF icon Code of Practice for Victims of Crime
    Last updated: 08 January 2018
  • PDF icon Victims of Crime - Understanding the support you can get
    Last updated: 08 January 2018
  • PDF icon Key Victim Support Services
    Last updated: 08 January 2018