Victim Charter

The Victim Charter sets out how victims of crime should be treated and what advice, support and practical information they can receive. The charter is for victims, a bereaved family member or their representative, and a parent on behalf of or instead of a child.

Support and information

You should:

  • be treated in a polite, dignified, respectful, sensitive, professional and non-discriminatory way
  • have service providers take suitable measures to help you understand what they are telling you and make sure they understand what you are telling them
  • have access to free translation or interpretation if you don't speak or understand English 
  • bring someone of your choice to support you when you meet service providers, unless this would not be in your best interest or could affect the case
  • be referred to, and have access to, free confidential services (including specialist services) that can help you, based on your needs 
  • have your needs assessed to identify if you need extra help to give evidence to the police or at court  
  • deal with people who are trained in contact with victims
  • get services and help, if you live in another EU country

If you don't speak or understand English you should have access to free translation or interpretation when asked for. This includes being given an acknowledgement of the crime, receiving information about the date, time and location of key court hearings, giving evidence and receiving information about the outcome of the trial.

You should receive information on:

  • what to expect from the criminal justice system
  • crime reference details
  • help and support available to you (including information on specialist support services)
  • decisions not to continue or end an investigation
  • a decision not to prosecute someone
  • the offences for which the accused is being prosecuted
  • the date, time and location of key court hearings (trial, sentence and appeal)
  • the outcome of relevant bail hearings (where this directly affects you) and the trial
  • claiming expenses, if asked to give evidence
  • claiming compensation  and relevant victim information schemes

Investigation

As part of the investigation into the crime, you should:

  • be interviewed by the police as few times as possible – only where necessary for the investigations – and to have someone of your choice with you (unless this would hinder the police investigation)
  • be told what is happening, at times agreed with the police, where the police are investigating the crime
  • be told whether a suspect is to be prosecuted or not and to have a decision not to prosecute that person reviewed, where you ask for this
  • get property that you own back as soon as possible, if it is taken as evidence, unless it is needed for the investigation or court proceedings or its return would be an offence
  • apply for compensation, if you are a victim of a violent crime (within two years of the incident causing the injury)

Going to court

Should you be asked to go to court, you should:

  • receive information on the date, time and location of key court hearings (trial, sentence and appeal)
  • be given the opportunity to make a written statement to the court about how a crime has affected you, where the case is to go to court
  • discuss any needs you have with your case officer in the Victim and Witness Care Unit and be referred to a relevant victim support service provider, who can advise you of services (including specialist services)
  • ask for a court familiarisation visit before the case is heard, to enter the building through a different entrance from the suspect and to sit in a separate waiting area, where possible
  • be told if you have to give evidence at court and receive information to help you prepare for this
  • be protected from contact with the alleged offender at court, where possible

Steps to protect you

In some cases, as a victim of a crime, you may be able to take part in a meeting that brings you together with the person responsible for the crime. If this happens, steps should be taken to protect you.

When the offender is released

You can ask to be told when the offender leaves custody or hospital or will be supervised as part of their sentence. You should also be told about the relevant victim information release scheme. This applies to sentences of six months or more.

If you have any concerns

You should raise your concerns with a service provider or an independent body if you are not happy with the service provided or don’t think your entitlements under the charter have been met by service providers.

To read more about the Victim Charter, go to:

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