CRIME: Victims have rights too

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Last week’s crime statistics revealed that there were 4,965,270 crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales last year.

This seems an appropriate time to remind people of their rights under the Victims’ Code.

All victims of crime have the right to a needs assessment to make sure they get the support they need.

This could include an interpreter or an intermediary, for example.

They also have the right to be kept informed about the police investigation, including if a suspect is arrested and charged and if any bail conditions are imposed and the time, date, location and outcome of any court hearings.

Our casework shows that vulnerable victims are not always provided with the support they need or have a right to.

Some have not felt able to face the defendant in court but were not given the support they needed to give evidence behind a screen or via a video link.

In other cases we have found that victims of crime, who were due to give evidence in court, were not told the dates of the hearing, resulting in cases collapsing.

It is vital that people are made aware of their rights, and that the Victims’ Code is followed so that victims of crime are given the justice they deserve.

If people are not satisfied with the way a complaint about the Victims’ Code has been dealt with by either the local police force or the Crown Prosecution Service, then they have a right to bring that complaint to us.

Rob Behrens

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman