Support for victims and witnesses of crime
If you’ve witnessed or been the victim of crime, it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed. But help and support is available to get you back on your feet and guide you through the investigation process.
Here, you'll find the guidelines we follow to make sure we’re offering the best possible care, and where you can turn for further support.
What to expect as a victim or witness
Criminal justice agencies in England and Wales abide by the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. This is a set of guidelines designed to make sure victims of crime are given the best advice and support from the moment they report a crime to the sentencing of an offender.
Victims can expect to be:
- treated in a respectful, sensitive and professional manner without discrimination of any kind
- given appropriate support to cope and recover
- protected from being victimised again
- shown how to access information and support in future
A victim’s details remain confidential. Their address and other personal information is never made available to suspects or offenders.
Witnesses of crime are protected in a similar way due to a set of standards called the Witness Charter.
To find out more about how witnesses and victims of crime will be treated and other services available to them, visit the UK government’s website.
Going to court
As a witness or victim of a crime, you may be asked to give evidence in court.
We can make sure you get plenty of help and advice in the run-up to and on the day itself.
You'll be assigned a caseworker from a prosecution hub.
This person will be your single point of contact throughout. They'll:
- answer any questions you might have
- give you all the information you need
- make sure you’re fully prepared
They can arrange a court visit before the day so you can familiarise yourself with the layout of the courtroom.
On the day, they may be able to make sure you arrive through a different entrance to the offender and wait in a separate area depending on the circumstances of the case.
If you’re feeling vulnerable or intimidated by the offender, or if a child or young person is giving evidence, the court may be able to provide a range of special measures, such as:
- giving evidence from behind a screen or via a video link from another room
- trained professionals, called intermediaries, who are there to help explain things
- for some locations it might be possible to be able to wait in a different area or come into court via a different door to avoid seeing the offender or people attending court on their behalf
For those attending court in Scotland, the above services are provided by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. For more information visit the Scottish Government's website or the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
Local and national support
Victim Support is a national charity dedicated to helping anyone affected by crime to cope with and recover from their experience. It offers services not only to victims and witnesses, but also to their friends and family.
If it doesn't have an office in your area, it can point you to local help.
Restorative justice let's you, the victim, ask questions about why the offender committed the crime. It can help you address any ongoing fears you may have.
You can request to take part in restorative justice at any point through the criminal justice process. Your police officer will discuss this with you or refer you to the Staffordshire Restorative Justice Hub, which you can email or call on 0330 0881 339.
Further support for victims and witnesses in Staffordshire
At Staffordshire Police we refer witnesses to and victims of crime to Staffordshire Victim Gateway, a free, confidential service that provides information, advice, or practical and emotional support to all victims and witnesses in Staffordshire, even if you haven't reported the crime to the police.
You can choose to opt out of this service, but if you change your mind you can self-refer at any time.
You can also register for Staffordshire Smart Alert, which will send you messages about what's happening in your local area.