Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

New Code of Practice for Victims of Crime

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In October 2015, a new Code of Practice for Victims was published, replacing one originally published in 2013. It sets out in some detail what victims of crime should expect from the criminal justice system. There are separate sections for adult and young victims. It also sets out the responsibilities the Code places on the key actors in the criminal justice system.

It is relevant to all stage in the criminal justice process: investigation and pre-trial; the trial itself; and post-trial.

The code summarises the entitlements as follows:

You are entitled to:
• A written acknowledgement that you have reported a crime, including the basic details of the offence;
• An enhanced service if you are a victim of serious crime, a persistently targeted victim or a vulnerable or intimidated victim;
• A needs assessment to help work out what support you need;
• Information on what to expect from the criminal justice system;
• Be referred to organisations supporting
victims of crime;
• Be informed about the police investigation, such as if a suspect is arrested and charged and any bail conditions imposed;
• Make a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) to explain how the crime affected you;
• Read your VPS aloud or have it read aloud on your behalf, subject to the views of the court, if a defendant is found guilty;
• Be informed if the suspect is to be prosecuted or not or given an out of court disposal;
• Seek a review of the police or CPS’s decision not to prosecute in accordance with the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and CPS Victims’ Right to Review schemes;
Be informed of the time, date and location and outcome of any court hearings;
• Be informed if you need to give evidence in court, what to expect and discuss what help and support you might need with the Witness Care Unit;
• Arrange a court familiarisation visit and enter the court through a different entrance from the suspect and sit in a separate waiting area where possible;
• Meet the CPS advocate and ask him or her questions about the court process where circumstances permit;
• Be informed of any appeal against the offender’s conviction or sentence;
• To opt into the Victim Contact Scheme (VCS) if the offender is sentenced to 12 months or more for a specified violent or sexual offence;
• If you opt in to the VCS to:
– make a VPS for consideration by the Parole Board if the offender is considered for release or transfer and apply to the Parole Board to read it out at the hearing;
– make representations about the conditions attached to the offender’s licence on release and be informed about any licence conditions relating to you;
• Apply for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme;
• Receive information about Restorative Justice and how you can take part;
• Make a complaint if you do not receive the information and services you are entitled to, and to receive a full response from the relevant service provider.

To see the whole Code, go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-code-of-practice-for-victims-of-crimeThis also gives links to a leaflet about the code and a text of a note that is given to victims.

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Written by lwtmp

December 1, 2015 at 11:35 am

Posted in Chapter 5

Tagged with ,

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