Victim Information Booklet

This information booklet is designed to give an understanding of what to expect throughout your journey as a victim of crime. it outlines your rights and the contact and support you can expect to recieve from agencies within the Criminal Justice System.

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Compensation and Financial Support

At Beacon, we understand that being a victim of crime is distressing enough, without the potential financial cost. Damages to property, loss of belongings and loss of earnings can make a bad experience doubly difficult to bear.

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If you have suffered financial loss, there are some schemes that may be able to help you. These include court-awarded compensation, criminal injury compensation and the Hardship Fund. You can also claim expenses for giving evidence in court.

You may be able to claim compensation if you:

  • are a victim of a crime
  • are a close relative of someone who has died because of a crime
  • witnessed a serious crime, intervened and were seriously injured


Court-awarded compensation

The court can order a guilty party to pay you compensation. However, you’ll need to tell the police that you want this form of compensation and what you’re claiming for. This could include:

  • personal injury
  • losses from theft or damage to property
  • losses from fraud
  • being off work
  • medical expenses
  • travel expenses
  • pain and suffering
  • loss, damage or injury caused to or by a stolen vehicle

The police will pass your request for compensation to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS will ask the court to order the convicted person to pay compensation on your behalf.

Bear in mind that the court will set any compensation according to what the offender can afford to pay. For this reason, it may not cover your losses. The court may also allow the offender to pay instalments rather than in one lump sum.

The court will consider the offender’s punishment when deciding on compensation. If the offender receives a prison sentence, they’ll be unable to work, so ordering them to pay compensation is unlikely.

It’s the court’s job to collect compensation from the offender and pass it on to you. You won’t have to have any dealings with the offender.


Criminal injury compensation

If you’re a victim of violent crime and can’t get court-awarded compensation, you may be able to claim from the Government-funded Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). 

You can claim for physical and mental injuries. Any mental injury you claim for must be a recognised psychiatric or psychological illness and covered by the scheme. 

You can apply to CICA within two years of reporting the incident, providing you’ve cooperated with any investigations.

You can call CICA on 0300 003 3601.


Hardship Fund

If you’re low paid and have to take time off work as a victim of violent crime, you can apply for help from the Government’s Hardship Fund.

This could provide temporary relief from financial hardship and reduce some of the stress of your experience. It'll apply if your injuries don’t qualify for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012.

If you apply for relief from the Hardship Fund, Victim Support will assess your eligibility for a claim. They’ll then forward your application to CICA who will process it for you.


Eligibility for the Hardship Fund

You can apply for relief from the Hardship Fund if you:

  • earn less than £111 per week
  • don’t get sick pay
  • couldn’t work for at least seven consecutive days as a result of the crime
  • don’t have any unspent convictions that resulted in a custodial sentence or community order

For more information on The Hardship Fund, contact Victim Support on 0808 16 89 111.


Let Beacon help you

At Beacon, our trained advisers will explain to you all the financial help and compensation you’re entitled to. We’ll guide you through the claims processes and help you complete the forms you’ll need to submit. We understand it may be difficult to recall and write about your experience, so we’re here to offer all the practical and emotional support you need.


Expenses for Going to Court

Attending a hearing can leave you out of pocket as your employer doesn’t have to pay you for the time you’ll have to take off work. So, you may be able to claim expenses for your travel, meals, loss of earnings and childcare when you give evidence at a trial.

You can find more information on expenses for going to court here


Making a claim

You should receive a witness expense claim form, a prepaid envelope and a list of your allowable expenses before the trial. If for any reason you haven’t received these, your solicitor or a court official should provide them for you. At Beacon, if you are eligible, we’ll help you complete and submit your expenses claim form.

Find out more about witness expenses and allowances.


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Your Questions Answered

At Beacon, we understand that being a victim of a crime is distressing. It also brings you into areas of the criminal justice system that you’ll probably have never needed to know about before. Here, we’ve answered the questions people ask us most often. If you have a question that we’ve not answered, call us on 03000 11 55 55 (option3) or e-mail us at info@hertfordshirebeacon.org.

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I want help but I don’t want to report the crime

You may, for various reasons, prefer not to report a crime to the police. But at Beacon, we’ll still offer you our full support if you’ve been a victim of crime.


What happens after I report a crime?

Once you've reported a crime, the police will investigate it.

They may ask you for more information to help them do this. This could involve visiting you at home or inviting you to the police station. If the crime happened on the street, they may just speak to you at the scene.

If you're injured, and have to go to hospital, the police may visit you there.

A uniformed officer will most likely be the first person you speak to from the police. If the offence is a sexual crime or one of a sensitive nature, you can ask to with speak to an officer of your own gender.

The police will ask you for a statement. This will help them build a picture of what happened.

Police officers receive special training in interviewing victims and witnesses. Sometimes though, it can take them some time to gather all the information they need. They understand that interviews can be distressing, so you can ask for a break at any time.

The police may need to speak to you more than once. This may be to check information and find more evidence, such as:

  • descriptions of people involved
  • descriptions or names of any witnesses
  • registration numbers of any vehicles. This includes vehicles that weren’t involved in the incident, as their drivers or occupants may have seen something
  • descriptions, identifying marks or serial numbers of any stolen property


What about evidence?

Sometimes, the police will need evidence from the scene of the crime. How they gather this can vary depending on the type of the crime and how serious it was. 

For example, trained scenes of crime officers may take fingerprints or photographs.

The police know that having fingerprints or other samples taken can be stressful or embarrassing. It's part of their job to make this as easy as possible for you.

If you’ve been injured in an attack, the police also may need to collect medical evidence. This will help them build their case and prove in court what happened to you and how. 

What are my rights following a crime?

If you're a victim of a crime, the police will give you a Crime Reference Number. They'll also give you the contact details for the police officer dealing with your case.

You can use these details to contact the police officer for updates about the investigation. At Beacon, we can support you to do this if you're having trouble contacting the police officer.

You’ll also need the Crime Reference Nmber if you need to make an insurance claim.


What happens during the police investigation?

We, together with the police, will update you at least once a month on the progress of the case until it’s closed. The police will also let you know within five days if someone is:

  • arrested
  • charged
  • released, including on bail
  • given a caution, reprimand, final warning or penalty notice

If you report a crime and the police aren't able to investigate it, they'll tell you within five days. If they drop an investigation, they'll let you know and tell you why.

You may be able to get information quicker and have other rights if you are:

  • the victim of a serious crime
  • persistently targeted
  • vulnerable
  • intimidated

What does the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) do?

When the police complete their investigation, they’ll pass the information to the CPS.  The CPS decides if there’s enough evidence to take the case to court.

If the CPS drops the case or alters the charge, they'll usually tell you within five days.

They’ll also tell you how to request a review of the decision through the Victims’ Right to Review Scheme. You can do this within seven days. We’ll help you through this process.


What is a Victim Personal Statement?

Your Victim Personal Statement gives you a voice in the criminal justice process.

It allows you to tell the court and, where applicable, the parole board, how the crime has affected you, or your family. If the defendant is found guilty, you can read your statement aloud in court or have it read out on your behalf.

At Beacon, we’ll help you write your Victim Personal Statement.


What privacy am I entitled to?

The police might ask the media to help them with the investigation. This could mean passing on some information about the case. However, in most cases, they'll ask for your permission first.

If you’ve been the victim of a sexual crime, your privacy is protected by law. It's illegal for anyone to publish your name, photograph or anything else that could identify you.


Can I report crime anonymously?

Yes, by calling Crimestoppers free on 0800 555 111.

Crimestoppers will ask questions about the crime you're calling about, but not about you.

For extra reassurance, you can dial 141 before calling 0800 555 111. This will withhold your phone number and make your call untraceable. Calls to 0800 numbers don't show up on a BT or cable phone bill.

You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously from a phone box or give information online.


Contacting Beacon

You can call us in complete confidence on 03000 11 55 55 (option 3) or e-mail us at info@hertfordshirebeacon.org.


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