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Victims and witnesses

Being a victim of crime is an unpleasant experience.  It can make you feel frightened and vulnerable so we understand the importance of putting the victim at the heart of everything we do. 

If you have been a victim of crime, we want you to feel that we are doing everything we can to bring the offender to justice and to help and support you during that difficult time.

Being a witness to a crime can also be daunting, particularly if you have to attend court.

In this section:

Putting victims first

We aim to deliver a positive lasting impact through victim engagement and support, ensuring that victims are at the heart of everything we do.

Our commitment to you

If you are a victim of crime we will

  • Contact you as soon as possible.  The officer will give you their name and contact details (telephone and e mail) 
  • The officer will agree a contact contract with you provide meaningful updates throughout the lifecycle of the investigation
  • They will provide you a card with their details and the Victim Lincs website

You have rights under the Victims Code of Practice

  • Right to be able to understand and to be understood
  • Right to have the details of the crime recorded without unjustified delay
  • Right to be provided with information when reporting the crime
  • Right to be referred to victim support services and have services and support tailored to your needs
  • Right to be provided with information and updates about the investigation
  • Right to make a victim personal statement
  • Right to be provided with information about compensation
  • Right to have property returned

Our Putting Victims First leaflet has been translated into a range of languages.  Download below

Why should you report a crime?

It is important that you report crime so that we have the opportunity to work towards solving your crime and preventing further offences.

We use information you provide to study crime trends and if we can identify patterns, we can work towards resolving it perhaps by targeting certain areas at relevant times.

If criminals go unchallenged there is a strong likelihood of them continuing to offend.

What happens when you report a crime?

When you report a crime, we will conduct a thorough investigation of all the information available.  This will involve a review of witnesses, scenes and any CCTV and forensic evidence.  You will receive a crime reference number within 36 hours of the initial investigation.

We may ask you to give a statement which can be a written or video-recorded account of what happened.  Your statement will play an important role in bringing offenders to justice.

You will also have the option of making a victim personal statement (VPS).  This is a chance for you to state how the crime affected you.  Read more on making a victim personal statement.

Depending on the seriousness of the crime, the case may receive further investigation, or we may close the case.

If we close the investigation, it does not mean that the crime is not important, or closed permanently.  It may be that there is no further lines of enquiry or evidence available.  If more information comes to light at a later date, we will review the case.

If we investigate the crime further, we will conduct enquiries and identify and arrest any suspects.

At the end of the investigation, there are three possible outcomes:

  • We will charge the suspect. They will need to attend court to answer the charges against them.
  • We will caution the suspect.  This is an official warning which can be taken into account if the suspect appears in court again in the following 3 years.
  • No further action taken.  This will happen if there is not enough evidence to charge or caution a suspect.

What happens if the case goes to court?

If the offender is charged to appear at court and you have given a statement as a victim or witness you may have to give evidence in to court.  If the case does go to court, you can expect us to:

  • Carry out a full needs assessment if you have to give evidence.
  • Inform you of the court date within one day of being notified ourselves.
  • Answer any queries you may have
  • Notify you within 4 days if the suspect failed to appear in court

Our witness care unit will guide you through the court process, keeping you updated on the case as well as providing support and guidance.

Read more on the Victim Lincs website

Victim Lincs

Victim Lincs are specially trained to deliver a service on behalf of the Police and Crime Commissioner, to provide you with information, advice and support if you’ve been the victim of crime.

They are here to:

  • Inform: Answer any queries or concerns that you may have, as well as provide you with practical advice and support.
  • Support: Discuss the different support options available to you and, should you need further support, make a referral to the specialist service most suited to you.
  • Discuss: Victim Lincs are independent to the police, so anything you tell them will be in confidence (unless there is a risk of harm to yourself or others, or where there is a legal requirement).

This service is not time-limited. If you feel like you would value support or information from Victim Lincs at any point in the future, they are here for you.

01522 947510
Website: www.victimlincs.co.uk

The service is available Monday – Friday, 8am – 4pm. Outside of these hours, you can call Victim Support’s 24 hour support line on 08081689111

Code of Practice for Victims of Crime

The Code of Practice for Victims was published in 2013 and sets out what you can expect as a victim of crime from those people dealing with your crime.  From first point of contact through to the charge or court case, the code details how and how frequently you should expect to be updated on your crime.  It also sets out your rights as a victim.

For more information read the victims’ code of practice

You can also find more information on the Victim Lincs website

Victims’ right to review

The police Victim Right to Review (VRR) scheme relates to the right of a victim of a crime to ask for a review of a decision by the police not to prosecute a suspect. The scheme applies to National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) offences.

The scheme applies to cases in which a suspect has been identified and interviewed under caution, either following an arrest or by voluntary arrangement.

Your right to request a review arises in the following circumstances where the police decide:

  • not to bring proceedings in cases where the police have authority to charge; or
  • that the case does not meet the Test for referring the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a decision to charge an offender. 

Victims’ Right to Review specifically relates to decisions not to prosecute and does not cover crime recording decisions or decisions not to continue with enquiries.

It applies to any decision made on or after 1 April 2015 but does not apply retrospectively to decisions taken before that date. 

The following cases DO NOT fall within the scope of police VRR:

  • cases where no suspect has been identified and interviewed, for instance investigations that are filed ‘at source’;
  • cases where charges are brought in respect of some (but not all) allegations made or against some (but not all) possible suspects;
  • cases where a charge is brought that relates to the matter complained about by the victim but the offence charged differs from the crime that was recorded; for instance the suspect is charged with common assault but an offence of actual bodily harm has been recorded;
  • cases which are concluded by way of out of court disposal; and
  • cases where the victim retracts their complaint or refuses to co-operate with the investigation and a decision is therefore taken not to charge/not to refer the case to the CPS for a charging decision. 

Who can apply under the scheme?

Any victim in a qualifying case (as above) where a decision is made not to prosecute is entitled to seek a review of that decision.

A victim is defined as per The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime 2013 (Victims’ Code):

‘a person who has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by criminal conduct’.

This can include:

  • close relatives of a person whose death was directly caused by criminal conduct;
  • parents or guardians where the main victim is a child or youth under 18;
  • police officers who are victims of crime;
  • family spokespersons of victims with a disability or who are so badly injured that they cannot communicate; and
  • businesses, providing they give a named point of contact. 

You should have been notified of your right to ask for a review at the point you were informed of the decision not to prosecute.

VRR is specifically intended to allow a victim to have an avenue to appeal a decision not to prosecute. It is separate and distinct from any complaint process regarding conduct or service.

It is acknowledged that a victim might ask an individual to act on their behalf, such as a solicitor or an MP in which case we will require written confirmation, where appropriate, that the person in question has the authority of the victim to act on their behalf.

Time limits

When a victim requests a review of a decision receipt of this request will be acknowledged within 10 working days.

A victim can request a review within 3 months of being notified of the decision not to prosecute.

Wherever possible, the review will be completed and the decision communicated to the victim within an overall timeframe of 30 working days (i.e. 6 weeks from receipt of the request from the victim).

Where the case is particularly complex or sensitive, it may not be possible to provide a VRR decision within the usual time limits.  In such cases, the victim will be notified accordingly and provided regular updates on the progress of the review.

The outcome of the review

There are six potential outcomes of a review:

  • the original decision to take no further action is upheld;
  • the original decision is overturned and proceedings are commenced against the suspect, i.e. they are charged/summonsed;
  • the original decision is overturned and the suspect is dealt with by way of an out of court disposal;
  • the original decision is overturned and the case is referred to the CPS for a charging decision;
  • it is determined that further enquiries need to be completed before the reviewing officer can make their decision;
  • the original decision is overturned but the case is statute-barred and proceedings cannot be instigated. 

The method of communicating the outcome of a review is determined on a case by case basis but all decisions will be confirmed in writing, unless the circumstances of the case make it inappropriate to do so or the victim has stated that they do not wish to receive written communication.

A victim who remains dissatisfied with the outcome of the police review and wishes to pursue the matter further can apply to the High Court for a judicial review.

Please note, it is possible that a victim could appeal a police decision not to prosecute resulting in that decision being overturned and the matter being referred to the CPS for a charging decision.  The CPS could then decide to take no further action and the victim would then be entitled to ask for a review of the CPS decision under the CPS VRR scheme and ultimately to refer the matter for a judicial review.

How to request a review

Use our online victims' right to review scheme application form to request a review.

Restorative justice

Restorative justice brings together people harmed by crime or conflict with those responsible for the harm.

It gives you the chance to tell offenders how the crime has affected you, get answers to your questions and get an apology.

For more details, go to our restorative justice page.

More help and support

Victim Lincs
01522  947510

You can also find further resources at victimlincs.co.uk/get-support/

Find more victims and witnesses information on www.gov.uk

Domestic Abuse Contacts

Women’s Aid
0808 2000 247

Men’s domestic abuse helpline
0808 801 0327

Womens domestic abuse and sexual violence helpline
0808 800 0340

Ending Domestic Abuse Now (EDAN) in Lincolnshire

Make a Change
For those wishing to change their behaviour
Tel: 01522 246616
Email: info@makeachangelincs.org.uk

Related Documents & Further Reading

13 Nov 20 1:30 PM

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