What rights do I have if I have been the victim of a crime?

Victims of Crime

Being the victim of any kind of criminal act can be an extremely traumatic and harrowing experience for any individual. As a consequence of this the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales provides those individuals who have been the victims of crime with certain legal rights and protection. Furthermore the victim of a crime can often play an integral role in the conviction of the guilty individual – as a consequence of this it is imperative that the victim is provided with adequate legal protection.

What rights do I have if I have been the victim of a crime?

The rights that victims of crime have can be split into the following categories:

  • Services and information for victims of crime

  • The right to tell the court how the crime has affected you

  • The right to compensation

Services and information for victims of crime

When a victim initially talks to the police or when their case goes to court the victim has the following rights prescribed by law:

  • The right to receive regular updates from the police about the case – this right should be for monthly updates at least and in many cases more regular updates

  • The right to be informed of when the criminal is arrested, charges, bailed and sentenced

  • The right to be kept separate, where possible, from the defendant’s family and friends during the court proceedings

  • The right to get additional help if the victim is vulnerable or an intimidated victim – this is termed special measures and can often include screens so that the victim does not have to see the defendant

  • The right to get clear information about whether or not the victim qualifies for compensation

  • The right to be told when the offender is to be released – this applies in the situation where the offender has been put in prison for more than a year for a sexual or violent offence

Code of Practice for Victims of Crime

There are full details of all of the rights of victims provided for by the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.  If you have been a victim of a crime and wish to know your full rights then you should ensure that you obtain a copy of the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.

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For more information on:

  • The right to tell the court how the crime has affected you
  • Will the police always ask me if I want to make a victim personal statement?
  • Is a victim personal statement the same as a witness statement?
  • What is the purpose of a victim personal statement?
  • The right to compensation
  • Is there an alternative than claiming through the criminal court?
  • What is the advantage of seeking a civil claim?
  • What is the disadvantage of seeking a civil claim?
  • If I have been the victim of a crime what issues should I keep track of for a claim for compensation?
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority