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.