After the trial
Joining the Victim Contact Scheme
If you are the victim of a violent or sexual crime you will be able to keep up to date with what's happening to the offender if they're sent to prison for 12 months or more. The CPS will send your details to the Victim Contact Scheme. You can decline this if you would not like to be involved.
If you do sign up to the scheme you'll be given a Victim Liaison Officer (VLO). They work for the National Probation Service and will tell you about important changes in the offender's sentence, e.g. if they're moved to an open prison or a parole board hearing is coming up.
A parole board hearing is when specially trained people assess the risk the offender poses and decide whether to release them or move them to an open prison (where there are fewer restrictions). If you are part of the Victim Contact Scheme, you will be informed this is happening and can give your views to the Parole Board and to your VLO around the offenders licence (e.g. areas they are not allowed to go into) should they be released. You can also make a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) to be sent to the parole board and can apply to attend the hearing in person, if you wish.
If the offender appeals
The offender can ask for the court's decision to be reviewed by another court. The Witness Care Unit will tell you when and where the appeal hearing will take place and you'll be able to go, if you want to. You may also be asked to give evidence. The Witness Care Unit will also tell you what the outcome is, including any change to the sentence.
If new information is found
The offender can ask the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to look at their case again if information comes to light that might change their sentence or conviction. You might not be told about a review. However, very few end up with the case being sent back to court.
Support after the trial ends
If you feel you need support after the trial ends there are lots of local organisations who can help. Search in the search bar at the top to find support near you.
Unwanted contact from the offender
Any unwanted contact from an offender will be treated very seriously, whether it's by text, letter or through social media sites.
What to do if you're contacted:
- by a prisoner- report them to your Victim Liaison Officer if you have one, or contact the Victim Helpline on 0300 060 6699
- by a prisoner serving their sentence in the community (known as being 'on licence')- report them to your Victim Liaison Officer (if you have one), the police or local probation service
- by an offender who is under 18 and being supervised by a Youth Offending Team- contact that team
You can also call the police on 101, or 999 if it's an emergency.
If you are a victim of a serious sexual or violent assault you can apply for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICA). If you need help completing the form you can contact CICA directly (0300 003 3601, option 8) or alternatively there are victim support services that can help you (you can search for one relevant to you in the box at the top of the page).
You must apply for compensation within 2 years of reporting the crime, however this can be extended in special circumstances.
Compensation claims can take a long time, you can always contact CICA for an update if you would like. You may need to send extra information and CICA may request information from the police, including any evidence you gave. They may also request for you to provide a medial report or a psychological assessment (if you are claiming for mental injuries). These may cost so if you need help getting or paying for these do contact CICA for further advice.
If you are not happy with the compensation decision that has been made you have a right to review through CICA. You then also have a right to request an appeal with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal if you are not happy with the decision taken by the review.