The government has published a new Code of Practice for Victims of Crime which sets out a number of new rights and entitlements for victims.
The Code came into force on 16 November 2015 and broadens the definition of ‘victim’ to increase the number of those entitled to receive support.
The key provisions are:
- Enhanced entitlements for the victims of the most serious crimes
- A right to make an impact statement, and read it out in court
- Special measures to help vulnerable witnesses to give evidence
- Rights to receive support and information from investigative and prosecutorial organisations
- Written confirmation setting out the legal elements of the offence when a crime is reported
- Rights to be informed about the investigation, e.g. if a suspect is arrested or charged and any bail conditions imposed; or to be informed if the suspect is not to be prosecuted
- To review and challenge the police or the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS’s) decision not to prosecute
- To be informed of any appeal against the offender’s conviction or sentence
- To opt into the Victim Contact Scheme if the offender is sentenced to 12 months or more for specified violent or sexual offences including rights to:
- Make a statement for the Parole Board to consider if deciding whether to release or transfer a convicted offender.
- Make representations about conditions attached to the offender’s licence on release such as a ban on contact with the victim.