Victims Code

What Am I Entitled To?

As a victim of crime you are entitled to have access to support services, irrespective of whether you have reported a crime to the police or not.

The Victims Code of Practice defines a victim as:

  • A person who has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by criminal conduct and a close relative (spouse, partner, relatives, siblings or dependents) of a person whose death was directly caused by criminal conduct.

Entitlement to enhanced services

We know that not everyone requires extensive support or assistance. Sometimes, just knowing that support is there is enough. But for others, their personal circumstance can make them more in need of support.

Under the Victims’ Code of Practice those who are entitled to an enhanced service are:

  • victims of the most serious crime;
  • persistently targeted victims; and
  • vulnerable or intimidated victims.

If you belong to one or more of these groups and would like support please contact Beacon.

If you are unsure if you belong to one or more of these groups please see below for a more detailed explanation.

 

Victims' Code Priority Groups

1. Victims of the most serious crime

If you are a victim of:

  • Domestic abuse
  • Hate crime
  • Terrorism
  • Sexual offences
  • Human trafficking
  • Attempted murder
  • Kidnap
  • False imprisonment
  • Arson with intent to endanger life
  • Wounding or causing grievous bodily harm with intent

2. Persistently targeted victims

If you have been targeted on more than one occasion, over a period of time, particularly if you have been deliberately targeted or you are a victim of harassment or stalking.

3. Vulnerable or intimidated victims

Vulnerable victims

a) You are under the age of 18 years at the time of the offence, or

b) The quality of your evidence is likely to be affected because:

  • You suffer from a mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983;
  • You have a learning disability;
  • You have a physical disability or are suffering from a physical disorder.

Intimidated victims

  • If the quality of your evidence will be affected because of your fear or distress about testifying in court.

When assessing whether a victim is intimidated, we take account of:

  • Fear or distress about appearing in court due to behaviour from the accused toward the victim
  • Sexual offences, human trafficking are automatically deemed as intimidated. Some gun and knife offences are also included
  • The victim’s age; social and cultural background; religious beliefs or political opinions; ethnic origin; domestic and employment circumstances.

 

Beacon Victim Care Centre Aims

Our service aims to help you to cope and recover from the impact of crime.

Our approach recognises the importance of ensuring that practical and emotional support is on hand and understands that your needs change over time.

Please also refer to our GET HELP section that provides links for specialist support organisations.

 

Contacting Beacon

If you feel that you are entitled to an enhanced service please call the Victim Care Centre on 03000 11 55 55 (option 3) between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday and between 9am and 5pm on Saturdays.

A Case Manager will discuss your needs with you and, where appropriate, work with partners to provide a complete wrap around service to help you to cope and recover. All calls are treated confidentially.

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Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is a service that aims to repair the harm caused from a crime. Under the Victims Code of Practice all victims of crime have a right to receive information about restorative justice.

The process can bring a victim and an offender together to communicate in a variety of ways and give victims a voice!

It can give victims of crime the chance to have their say, explain the effect on themselves and seek a direct explanation from the offender about what they did. Through this the offender can begin to understand the impact of their behaviour.

Restorative justice does not replace the criminal justice system but helps to deal with the emotions related to the crime. It can be a means of closure or way to move on for the victim.

Restorative justice works alongside criminal justice proceedings and most victims tell us it helps. In fact, 85 per cent of victims of crime who have used restorative justice were satisfied with the process. And 78 per cent would recommend it to others.

How restorative justice works

Restorative justice can only take place when the offender has been identified and accepted guilt.

It doesn’t just happen when a court case has taken place; it is available when a victims is ready.

To start with, there’ll be a meeting between the victim and a trained facilitator.

At the meeting, the victim can explain:

  • what happened
  • how it affected them
  • what might make them feel better about it

If appropriate, the facilitator may then suggest communication between the victim and the offender. They’ll take their wishes and any concerns into account and treat both parties’ emotional and physical safety as a top priority.

The next step will be for the facilitator to speak to the offender about what happened and their understanding of the harm that was caused. They will then be asked if they would like the opportunity to communicate with the victim.

If the facilitator doesn’t feel a face to face meeting is a good idea, they’ll let the victim and/or the offender know and explain why. Instead of a meeting, if appropriate, the facilitator may be able to convey a message from the victim to the offender.

The facilitator will be a specialist in providing restorative justice and trained in supporting victims of crime. The service is completely confidential and impartial.

Restorative Justice Referrals

​If you are interested in restorative justice and would like to find out more, please contact the Beacon team at: rj@hertfordshirebeacon.org ​or call on 0300 011 5555 (Option 4).

If you are a professional looking to refer a client for restorative justice please contact the email address or phone number above for a referral form.

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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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Victims Code of Practice

The Victims’ Code of Practice, also known as the Victims' Code, is a legal document. It governs how agencies such as the police and the courts must treat you from the moment you report a crime to the end of the trial.

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What the Victims’ Code means for you

Under the Victims’ Code, you have the right to know:

  • how the police investigation is going
  • when a suspect is arrested, charged or given bail
  • what to expect when you give evidence in court
  • what help your witness care officer can give you
  • how to complain if you don’t receive what you should under the code
  • how to seek a review if the Crown Prosecution Service decides not to prosecute or drops your case

You also have the right to:

What the Victim’s Code means for businesses

All businesses or enterprises (such as charities) that are victims of crime are entitled to: 

  • Receive services under the Victims’ Code, provided they can give a single named point of contact who can speak on behalf of the organisation.
  • Make an Impact Statement for Business (ISB) if the crime is reported to the police. ISBs give a business the opportunity to set out the impact that a crime has had, such as direct financial loss, operational disruption or reputational damage. The court will take the statement into account when determining sentence. Information on how to make an ISB can be found here.

 

Victims Code Priority Groups

Sometimes, it’s enough just to know that support is there for you. But the nature of the crime against you or your personal circumstances could make you vulnerable. For this reason, the Victims’ Code has four priority groups.

You will have a needs assessment to determine if you fall into one of the four priority groups.

Your assessor will look at the impact the crime has had on your life and ensure you get the practical and emotional support you need.

The four Victims’ Code priority groups are:

 

1). Victims of the most serious crime

People who have experienced, or been bereaved by:

  • domestic violence
  • hate crime
  • terrorism
  • sexual offences
  • human trafficking
  • attempted murder
  • kidnapping
  • false imprisonment
  • arson with intent to endanger life
  • wounding or causing grievous bodily harm with intent

 

2). Persistently targeted victims

You'll fall into this priority group if you:

  • have been deliberately and repeatedly targeted over a period of time
  • are a victim of a sustained campaign of harassment or stalking

 

3). Vulnerable victims

You’ll be classed as a vulnerable victim if you were under the age of 18 at the time of the offence. You’ll also fall into this category if you have a condition that makes it difficult for you to give evidence, such as a:

  • mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983
  • significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning
  • physical disability or are a physical disorder

 

4). Intimidated victims

If the quality of your evidence will be affected because you fear testifying in court, your assessor may tell the court that you’re an intimidated victim. Before reaching this conclusion, they’ll take account of:

  • behaviour towards you on the part of the accused, their family and associates or anyone else who could be an accused or a witness in the case
  • the nature and alleged circumstance of the offence. If you’re a victim of a sexual offence or human trafficking, you’ll automatically be defined as intimidated
  • your age and, if relevant, social and cultural background, religious beliefs, political opinions, ethnic origin, domestic circumstances and employment status

 

At Beacon, we’ll make sure you get the support you’re entitled to under the Victims’ Code of Practice.

 

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What We Do

At The Beacon Victim Care Centre, our main focus is to help victims cope and recover from their experience with crime. If needed, our team of dedicated and trained professionals can be there to support you every step of the way.

Firstly, if you have reported the crime to the police, you will automatically be contacted by the Victim Service Team. They will tell you about:

  • Your Crime Reference Number
  • What happens next
  • The services available to you

They will also ask how you would like to be notified of progress with your crime and how often you would like to be updated.

Additionally, they will find out you whether you are entitled to additional support from our Beacon Victim Care Team and ask you whether you would like it. Under the Victims' Code of Practice, some victims have personal circumstances that entitle them to additional support. You can find out more about enhanced support here. If you are not entitled to additional support under the Victims Code of Practice, you can still contact our Beacon Victim Care Team at any time to arrange practical help or emotional support.

Anyone who is entitled to, or feels they need our support, is assigned a Case Manager. Your Case Manager will undertake a needs assessment with you, which will help assess what impact the crime has had on you and your life. They then develop a support plan based on what you might need, and what support we can offer. Where necessary, we can refer you on to other services who have specialist skills and knowledge, however, rest assured this will only happen if you give your approval.

If you have been a victim of a crime and would like support but you do not want to report the crime to the police you are still entitled to the services Beacon can provide.

To access our Beacon Victim Care Team support, you can contact us using the contact details provided below. Please be assured your enquiry will be handled sensitively and in confidence.

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