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Victims

What to expect as a victim of crime in Nottinghamshire

Victim personal statement

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A Victim Personal Statement is a written account. It is your way of telling people, working in the Criminal Justice System, about the crime you have suffered and the impact it has had on you, whether physically, emotionally, psychologically, financially or in any other way. Your Victim Personal Statement gives you a voice and helps the court to understand what you have been through.

Making a Victim Personal Statement is voluntary. Before deciding to make a Victim Personal Statement, you will be advised by the police that if the case reaches court, your Victim Personal Statement will be seen by the Defence. You may be asked questions about your Victim Personal Statement during the trial.

Your Victim Personal Statement can include information such as:

  • Any physical or psychological injury you may have suffered.
  • The impact on your family.
  • How your quality of life has changed on a day-to-day basis.
  • If you are worried about the alleged offender being given bail.
  • If you feel the crime was racially motivated or that your faith, sexuality or disability played a part in the crime.
  • If you need or are receiving additional support as a result of the crime.
  • If you intend to claim compensation from the alleged offender for any injury, loss or damage.

What is a needs assessment?

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Upon reporting a crime we will conduct a needs assessment. By assessing your needs we will consider enhanced support if you are - a victim of serious crime, persistently targeted, vulnerable or intimidated.

What can I expect when I report a crime?

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Under the Victims' Code, you are entitled to receive the following from the police:

  • a clear explanation of what to expect from the criminal justice process when you report a crime; 
  • an assessment of your needs to help work out what help or support you may need. This will help to identify whether you are in one of the three categories of victim who may need enhanced support. Victims' Services may therefore do a more detailed assessment on behalf of the police; 
  • either written information on what to expect from the criminal justice system such as the "information for victims of crime" leaflet, or the details of a website which contains the same information, as soon as possible, and not later than 5 working days after reporting the crime; 
  • to be informed how often you will receive updates on the status of the case.
  • to be informed that if you are making a victim personal statement, that this may result in you needing to give evidence in court if the case goes to trial; 
  • an explanation, within 5 working days of a decision not to investigate a crime. 

If there is to be an investigation, you are entitled to have the following information and to have the reasons explained to you within 5 working days of a suspect being: 

  • arrested; 
  • interviewed under caution; 
  • released with no further action; 
  • released on police bail, or if police bail conditions are changed or cancelled.

Note: If you are a victim of the most serious crimes, persistently targeted or vulnerable or intimidated, you are entitled to receive the above information within 1 working day.

You are also entitled:

  • to be advised when an investigation into the case has been concluded with no person being charged and to have the reasons explained to you; 
  • to discuss and agree with the police different timings to receive the information and services above to suit your needs.

If you are a victim of the most serious crime, persistently targeted or vulnerable or intimidated, you are entitled to the following from the police; 

  • to have information on Special Measures explained to you, where appropriate; 
  • to be referred to a specialist organisation, where appropriate and available; 
  • to receive information on being advised that a case has been concluded without charge; and 
  • to be asked if you wish to be informed if the investigation is to be reopened. The police must consider your views if the case is reviewed. 

If you are a bereaved close relative of a victim who died as a result of criminal conduct, you are entitled to:

  • have a Family Liaison Officer assigned to you by the police, where the Senior Investigating Officer considers this to be appropriate. This will happen in the majority of cases; and 
  • be offered accessible advice on bereavement and information on available victims' services by the police. 

What information will the police provide me with if I report a crime or incident?

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If you report a crime or other incident, the police will need to ensure that they:

  • understand what you are telling them and that you understand what they are telling you; 
  • explain how they are going to deal with the matter; give an indication as to how long this will take; and 
  • give you a reference or crime number and details of a person to contact for further enquiries.

What are ‘enhanced entitlements’ and how do I know if I can receive them?

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Enhanced entitlements are services which are offered to victims who are more likely to require extra support and services through the criminal justice process due to the nature of the crime they are victim of or because of their particular vulnerability as a victim. 

There are three groups of victim who are entitled to receive enhanced entitlements:

You may be entitled to enhanced services under more than one category at the same time. For example, if you are under 18 years of age, you will be automatically eligible for enhanced services as a vulnerable victim regardless of whether you are also a victim of the most serious crime or are a persistently targeted victim. A victim of domestic violence is eligible for enhanced services as a victim of the most serious crime, but may also qualify for enhanced services as a vulnerable or intimidated victim.

Ultimately, it is the service provider's decision as to whether you fall into any of the three categories.

All victims of criminal conduct are entitled to an assessment by the police to identify any needs or support required. The length and content of this assessment depends on the severity of the crime and your individual needs. The assessment will take into account your personal characteristics, the nature and circumstances of the crime and your views. The more information you are able to provide during the assessment, the more tailored the level of support will be to your individual needs.

Additionally, your needs may change while the criminal conduct is being investigated due to your health, intimidation or any other reason. Therefore service providers must give you the opportunity to be re-assessed if your change of circumstances is brought to their attention.

Once a service provider has identified that you are eligible for enhanced entitlements under this Code, that service provider must ensure that this information is passed on as necessary to other service providers with responsibilities under this Code and to victims' services where appropriate. Service providers should check with you first that you are content for them to pass on your information to victims' services.

If you do not fall into the three categories outlined below, the service provider may exercise their discretion and provide enhanced entitlements under one of these categories depending on the circumstances of the victim concerned and the impact that the crime has had on them. It is important to note however that the service provider is not obliged to offer these services if you don't fall into one of the categories.

In relation to enhanced entitlements, what is a persistently targeted victim?

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You are eligible for enhanced entitlements under the Victims' Code as a persistently targeted victim if you have been targeted repeatedly as a direct victim of crime over a period of time; particularly if you have been deliberately targeted or you are a victim of a sustained campaign of harassment or stalking.

In relation to enhanced entitlements, what is a vulnerable or intimidated victim?

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You are eligible for enhanced entitlements under the Victims' Code as a vulnerable victim if:

(a) you are under 18 years of age, or 

(b) the quality of your evidence is likely to be affected because: 

(i) you suffer from mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983; 

(ii) you otherwise have a significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning; or 

(iii) you have a physical disability or are suffering from a physical disorder.

You are eligible for enhanced entitlements under the Victims' Code as an intimidated victim if the service provider considers that the quality of your evidence will be affected because of your fear or distress about testifying in court. When assessing whether a victim is intimidated, the service provider must take account of:

  • any behaviour towards the victim on the part of the accused, members of the family or associates of the accused and any other person who is likely to be an accused or witness in a potential court case; 
  • the nature and alleged circumstance of the offence to which a potential court case relates. Victims of a sexual offence or human trafficking will automatically be considered to be intimidated; 
  • the victim's age and, if relevant, the victim's social and cultural background, religious beliefs or political opinions, ethnic origin, domestic and employment circumstances.

In relation to enhanced entitlements, which are the most serious crimes?

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You are eligible for enhanced entitlements under the Victims' Code as a victim of the most serious crime if you are a close relative bereaved by criminal conduct, or you are:

  • a victim of domestic violence; 
  • a victim of hate crime; 
  • a victim of terrorism; 
  • a victim of a sexual offence; 
  • a victim of human trafficking; 
  • a victim of attempted murder; 
  • a victim of kidnap or false imprisonment; 
  • a victim of arson with intent to endanger life; or 
  • a victim of wounding or causing grievous bodily harm with intent. 

There are additional enhanced entitlements that are available for bereaved close relatives identified separately.

What steps do the police have to take with regard to vulnerable victims of crime?

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The Victims' Code provides that criminal justice agencies have responsibilities towards victims of crime. This answer deals specifically with the police responsibilities.

Vulnerable victims are provided with an enhanced service. People classed as vulnerable are:

  • Children under the age of 18. 
  • Any person suffering from a mental disorder. 
  • Any person suffering from a learning disability. 
  • Any person who is physically disabled. 
  • Any witness whose evidence is likely to be diminished through fear or distress. 
  • Any victim of domestic or sexual abuse.

    Vulnerable victims must be informed within 1 working day if a suspect has been arrested or a warrant has been issued due to the suspect's failure to attend at court.

    Once the police pass your details to Nottinghamshire Care, they will contact you by telephone, or if this is not possible, by letter, inviting you to get in touch if you require support. They will speak to you about the service they offer and what they can do to assist you. Their service is free and confidential and can offer you practical support such as help with making insurance and criminal injuries claims and also emotional support where their highly trained volunteers will meet with you face to face or call you on the telephone if you prefer to talk to you about the effects of the crime.

    No one has been charged or I don't wish to help with the investigation. Am I still entitled to the services?

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    You are entitled to access services under the Victims’ Code regardless of whether anyone has been charged or convicted of an offence relating to criminal conduct and regardless of whether you decide that you do not wish to co-operate with the investigation. However, if you are considering making an application for criminal injuries compensation, you should be aware that an award will be withheld unless you have cooperated as far as reasonably practicable in bringing the offender to justice.

    Whether or not you choose to assist or be involved in the police investigation, you are still entitled to support from Nottinghamshire Care. Victim Support is completely independent of the police and offers a free and confidential service.

    What are Victims' Services?

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    Victims’ Services are voluntary organisations which offer victims of crime help and support to help them cope and recover after a crime. You are entitled to have your details automatically passed to victims’ services by the police within 2 working days of reporting the crime by the police. You are also entitled to request that your details are not sent to victims’ services if you do not wish them to be. 

    If you are a victim of a sexual offence or domestic violence, or if you are a bereaved close relative, the police will seek your explicit consent before sending your details to victims’ services.

    You are entitled to receive information about victims’ services including their contact details from the police so that you can access their support at any time.

    What kind of support can I expect as a victim of crime?

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    Victims of criminal conduct, including bereaved relatives of a victim, should have access to information on the range of victims’ services that are available. These services may be provided by local or national organisations. You will be directed to victims' services where required at different stages, such as reporting a crime or attending court as a witness. Service providers must communicate with you in simple and accessible language, taking appropriate measures where possible (e.g. EasyRead, Braille or the use of a Registered Intermediary) to assist you to understand and for you to be understood.

    What services are businesses entitled to under the Victims’ Code?

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    All businesses or enterprises (such as charities) that are victims of crime are entitled to:

    • receive services under the Code provided they give a named point of contact for all communication between the business and service provider; 
    • make an Impact Statement. This may be offered at the same time as a witness statement if appropriate, or by self-completion by post or by email; 
    • say whether the business would like to have relevant parts of the Impact Statement read aloud by a CPS Prosecutor before the defendant is sentenced. Whether all or part of the Impact Statement is read aloud is subject to the discretion of the Court.

    What services can we expect as a business by making an Impact Statement?

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    • The police should offer a named contact.
    • The opportunity to make an Impact Statement, refer them to guidance on how to complete this, and forward a completed statement to the CPS.
    • The CPS must ensure that an Impact Statement is brought to the attention of the court where appropriate.
    • The court must pass what it judges to be the appropriate sentence taking into consideration the circumstances of the offence and of the offender and where the court considers it appropriate, the impact on any victims.

    How are witnesses treated during a police investigation?

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    The standards of care that you can expect as a witness are set out in the Witness Charter. One of the standards that relates to police investigations, states that as a witness, you will be treated fairly and with respect according to your needs irrespective of race, religion, background, gender, age, sexuality or any disability. Where required, additional support will be provided and any reasonable adjustments will be made to ensure that you have equal access to information and support services. This could include the use of an interpreter, a hearing induction loop and accessibility adaptations.

    What steps do the police have to take with regard to victims of crime during an investigation?

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    The Victims' Code provides that criminal justice agencies have responsibilities towards victims of crime. This answer deals specifically with the police responsibilities.

    The police must:

    • notify the victim within 5 working days if the crime is finalised at source (not investigated).
    • supply the victim with a victim of crime leaflet within 5 working days.
    • inform Nottinghamshire Care of the victim's details within 2 days of the crime report (unless the victim asks them not to do so), except in cases of theft of/from a motor vehicle, tampering with a motor vehicle or minor criminal
    • damage (unless the victim is vulnerable, a repeat victim, a victim of a hate crime or has specifically requested that the police do so).
    • where no suspect has been arrested, keep the victim up to date on the investigation, at least on a monthly basis, until the end of the enquiries.
    • if a suspect is arrested and dealt with by: no further action; bail; a caution; a penalty notice for disorder; or any other court disposal; notify the victim within 5 working days. Notification includes reasons for bail, bail conditions set and court dates.

    Informing the victim can include doing so by letter, telephone, personal visit, fax, text message or email.

    Once Victim Support has received your details from the police, they will contact you by telephone, or if this is not possible, by letter, inviting you to get in touch if you require support. They will speak to you about the service they offer and what they can do to assist you. Their service is free and confidential. Victim Support can offer you practical support, such as help with making insurance and criminal injuries claims; and also emotional support. Their highly trained volunteers will meet with you face to face or call you on the telephone if you prefer, to talk to you about the effects of the crime.

    If you are required to attend court as a witness, the Witness Service will contact you and also offer you support on the day at court and in advance of the day if needed.

    If I have to be interviewed as a victim by the police, what can I expect?

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    If you are being interviewed by the police, you are entitled to be accompanied by a person of your choice, unless a reasoned decision has been made to the contrary. The police will conduct any interviews with you without unjustified delay.

    The police will also make sure that the number of interviews they hold with you are limited to those that are strictly necessary for the purposes of their investigation.

    No one has been charged or I don't wish to help with the investigation. Am I still entitled to the services?

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    You are entitled to access services under the Victims’ Code regardless of whether anyone has been charged or convicted of an offence relating to criminal conduct and regardless of whether you decide that you do not wish to co-operate with the investigation. However, if you are considering making an application for criminal injuries compensation, you should be aware that an award will be withheld unless you have cooperated as far as reasonably practicable in bringing the offender to justice.

    Whether or not you choose to assist or be involved in the police investigation, you are still entitled to support from Nottinghamshire Care. Victim Support is completely independent of the police and offers a free and confidential service.

    Will I be told if the suspect has been charged, bailed or otherwise?

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    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.

    You are also entitled to be informed of: 

    • the date, time and location of the first court hearing; 
    • where the suspect is released on police bail to appear in court, any bail conditions and any changes to these bail conditions.

    You are entitled to receive the above information within 5 working days of the suspect being charged, being told that no charges will be brought or being given an out of court disposal. If you are a victim of the most serious crime, persistently targeted or vulnerable or intimidated, you are entitled to the information in within 1 working day.

    If you are a bereaved close relative, in a qualifying case, you are entitled to be offered a meeting with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prior to or following a CPS decision about whether or not to charge a suspect. If a decision is made to charge, the CPS will explain how the case is likely to progress, and answer any questions that you may have. The CPS will also discuss your needs and jointly agree the frequency of contact.

    The offender has been released on bail; what does this mean?

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    A person who has been granted bail is released from custody, until his or her next appearance in court or at the police station. This is sometimes subject to a security being given and/or compliance with certain bail conditions, such as periodically reporting to a police station.

    What happens if it is decided that the suspect will not be charged?

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    If the police decide not to prosecute, you are entitled to be notified of the reasons why this decision was made.

    If the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decides not to prosecute, you are entitled to be notified of the reasons why this decision was made, how you can access further information about the decision and how you can seek a review of the decision if you are dissatisfied with it.

    In certain specified cases where the CPS informs you of a decision not to charge, you are also entitled to be offered a meeting with the CPS. The CPS is responsible for holding the meeting and may conclude that in all the circumstances, the meeting should not take place. If the CPS decides that a meeting is not appropriate, the decision will be explained to you.

    What information will I receive after a person has been charged with an offence?

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    You are entitled to be informed and be given reasons for any decision the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) makes to:

    • discontinue a charge and proceed on another; 
    • substantially alter a charge; 
    • discontinue all proceedings; 
    • offer no evidence in all proceedings. 

    In addition, where the CPS discontinues or offers no evidence in all proceedings, you are also entitled to be informed of how you can access further information about the decision and how you can seek a review of the decision if you are dissatisfied with it.

    You are entitled to receive the information above within 5 working days of the decision being made. If you are a victim of the most serious crime, persistently targeted or vulnerable or intimidated, you are entitled to receive this information within 1 working day.

    In addition, if you are a bereaved close relative in a qualifying case, or a victim in a specified case you are entitled to be offered a meeting with the CPS to explain further a decision to discontinue or substantially alter a charge, discontinue all proceedings or offer no evidence in all proceedings. This is unless the prosecutor concludes that, in all the circumstances, a meeting should not take place. If the CPS decides that a meeting is not appropriate, the decision will be explained to you.

    What are 'special measures'?

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    Special measures are steps taken for vulnerable or intimidated witnesses, to help them to give their best evidence, whether during a police interview or in court. Such special measures should be tailored to the person's particular needs. 

    They can include:

    • Giving evidence in court from behind a screen. 
    • Giving evidence from outside the courtroom via live video link. 
    • Video recording your statement to be played in court. 
    • The removal of wigs and gowns by judges and lawyers. 
    • The assistance of a Registered Intermediary to help you to understand the questions you are being asked, either during a police interview or in court, and to give your answers accurately. Intermediaries are communication specialists who can help victims and witnesses who have difficulty communicating; they are not interpreters. 
    • Giving evidence in private by having the public gallery cleared. 

    An application for any special measures that are required, should be submitting on behalf of the witness. The judge or magistrates will decide whether the special measures should be granted and the witness will be informed of their decision. If the application is granted, HMCTS staff will ensure that the measures are available and will provide assistance as required on the day.

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