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The Code of Practice for Victims provides that all criminal justice agencies have responsibilities towards victims of crime. This answer only deals with the police responsibilities. For further information and responsibilities of other agencies along with the full Code of Practice, please see the related links section.

A victim is classed as a person who is -

  • a natural person who has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by a criminal offence;
  • a close relative of a person whose death was directly caused by a criminal offence
  • 'businesses' are not included in this definition (please see chapter 4 within the attached Code for information on this)

As a victim of crime you are entitled to receive the following from the police -

  • if the crime is finalised at source (not investigated) then the victim must be notified of this within 5 working days
  • must supply the victim with written information on what to expect from the criminal justice system as soon as possible, and not later than 5 working days after reporting the crime
  • must inform Victim Support services of the victims details within 2 days of the crime report (unless the victim asks them not to do so)
  • If the case goes to court the police must inform victims of the date, time and location of the first court hearing
  • inform victims within 5 working days of receipt from the court, if an arrest warrant has been issued for a suspect who failed to attend court and the outcome of a hearing if the suspect is re-arrested
  • You are entitled to be informed by the police of the following information and to have the reasons explained to you within 5 working days of a suspect being:

  • • arrested;
    • being issued an out of court disposal
    • interviewed under caution;
    • released without charge;
    • released on police bail, or if police bail conditions are changed or cancelled.

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

Vulnerable victims

Vulnerable victims are provided with an enhanced service. You may be classed as vulnerable if -

    • you are under 18 years of age at the time of the offence or
    • 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

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

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.