Support for victims and witnesses of crime

Find out how we support victims, witnesses and anyone else affected by crime. We can help you find additional help and advice.

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 some questions that should help you understand the investigative process after reporting a crime and show you where you can turn for further support and advice. 

FAQ

I've reported a crime to the police. What happens next?

After a crime has been reported we'll decide whether to start an investigation. 

We'll discuss with you whether you need any support to recover from the impact of the crime - for example, if you’ve been feeling very anxious or intimidated since the crime was reported. Support is provided by the Northumbria Victim and Witness Service who will receive information from the attending police officer if support is required and will make contact with you to discuss how best to support you.

We'll give you a give you crime reference number or incident number (make a note of this number somewhere safe – you will need it if you want to contact us again about the incident or if you want to make an insurance or compensation claim). Updates on the progress of your investigation can be provided by the Northumbria Victim and Witness Service, the telephone number and e-mail address will be on the leaflet or if you have new information about the crime itself please contact the officer direct.  

As a victim or witness we'll need to talk to you and collect as much information as possible so we can write a statement. 

We may also need to collect evidence from where the crime took place, such as photos or fingerprints. This may be an opportunity to get forensic evidence that can help bring an offender to justice.

How long will an investigation take?

We'll always strive to get the best possible results for victims of crime. However sometimes investigations can span over many months in order to get the evidence we need.

We'll keep you up to date at important points in the investigation. 

When will I be updated on the crime I reported?

We can keep you up to date at key points in the investigation. 

  • We can let you know if a suspect is interviewed, arrested or bailed
  • We can let you know if a suspect is charged, given an out of court disposal or we take no further action
  • We'll also update you if the investigating officer changes following the initial report 

You can agree with the officer in charge of your case how often you’d like to hear from us. If your contact details change please let us know Northumbria Victim and Witness Service. You can also get in touch with the service whenever you want an update. Their contact details are

E-Mail – nvws@northumbria.police.uk

Telephone – 0800 011 3116

What support will I receive?

We'll carry out a ‘needs assessment’ to help us understand what support we can offer you. This will determine what support will suit you and your circumstances. 

We may direct you towards Northumbria Victim and Witness Service for support. You can also get in touch with them for a chat.

Northumbria Victim and Witness Service will provide support independent of the investigation. They offer free and confidential advice for anyone affected by crime living in Tyne and Wear and the Northumberland areas.

They can help with practical and emotional support and can even support you going to court. They can help you access restorative justice options which can help empower you to cope, recover and move on.

For more information you can call: 0800 011 3116 

Or visit: https://nvws.northumbria.police.uk/

I'm the victim of a violent crime and I want to make a claim under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. How do I do this?

No award can fully compensate victims for what they have suffered or lost however depending on the crime, there are two ways a victim can access compensation.

If an offender is convicted of a crime a Court may award compensation to you.

If you’ve been injured by a violent crime. You can apply for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). It doesn't matter if an offender has been caught or not. 

You will be eligible if the crime has been committed in the past two years and if it was reported to the us as soon as possible.

You can get more information and application forms directly from Gov.uk: compensation for victims or by calling their helpline on 0300 003 3601

Who decides what my rights are as a victim?

We make all our decisions relating to how we treat you as a victim under the The Code of Practice for Victims - we sometimes refer to this as VCOP – in England and Wales.

The current Code is one of the most important documents for victims of crime as it sets out in law the minimum standards you can expect to receive from agencies in the criminal justice system, specifying what type of contact, information and support you are entitled to.

What is a Victim Personal Statement and how can I submit one?

All victims who report a crime are entitled to make a Victim Personal Statement at the same time as giving a witness statement.

The VPS allows you to say how the crime has impacted on your life. This is your opportunity to explain how the crime has affected you, physically, emotionally, psychologically, financially or in any other way.

This is different to a witness statement, which describes what happened at the time of the crime. Giving a VPS is optional and it will include your routine personal details such as name, date of birth and address. 

The VPS will form part of the prosecution case but will only be considered by the court once the offender has been found guilty of the offence.

Read more about submitting a victim personal statement.

What is restorative justice and how can it help me recover from the impact of crime?

Restorative Justice gives you a chance to ask the offender questions and have your say or tell them how their criminal behaviour has affected you. It can help you move forward and recover from the impact of crime. There are many forms of restorative justice Northumbria Victim and Witness Service have specialist staff who can explain in more detail what is available and help you choose whether this is something you would like to explore further. 

It is important to note however, that Northumbria Victim and Witness Service only offer Restorative Justice on cases whereby the offender has been found guilty of the offence. As such, it may not be suitable or appropriate in all cases and is a voluntary process for both the victim and offender.

I'm not happy with the outcome of my case. How can I review it?

The victims’ right to review scheme gives you the ability to request a review of the police decision not to bring charges, or refer the decision to the Crown Prosecution Service, against a suspect they have interviewed.

If you’re not satisfied with the outcome of an investigation:

 

I'd like to give feedback about the service I've received from the police. How do I do this?

We're committed to providing an outstanding service. 

If you’d like to say thanks or make a complaint we’d like to hear from you.

Send a compliment or complaint

I've been called to be a witness at court. What should I expect?

Northumbria Victims and Witness Service will provide you with information if you are asked to appear in court as a witness, this information will tell you what to expect at court and they will provide you will all the available support to allow you to give your evidence to the court. You will be allocated a dedicated member of staff who will keep you informed of the case's progress, and look at your specific needs e.g. childcare, transport in the instance that the defendant pleads not guilty. They will also, along with volunteers from the witness service, provide practical and emotional support. They will also tell you the dates of the court hearings and tell you what to expect when you get there including setting up a court visit before the day so you can familiarise yourself with the layout of the courtroom. On the day, your witness care officer can also make sure you arrive through a different entrance to the offender and wait in a separate area whenever possible.

If you’re feeling vulnerable or intimidated by the offender, the court can provide a range of special measures, such as allowing you to give evidence behind a screen or via a video link from another room or building please discuss how you feel when contacted to ensure all the support needed can be provided.

Further Court Support

Every court in Northumbria has a Witness Support Service. This service is run by Citizen Advice Bureau and helps witnesses, victims and their families from court on the day of the hearing. They will work with Northumbria Victims and Witness Service and can show you around the court in advance of the day you have to give your evidence.

They provide free and confidential support as well as practical information about attending court. For local contact details and more information, visit the Citizen Advice website: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/citizens-advice-witness-service/

To find out more about going to court as a victim or witness, visit the Crown Prosecution Service’s website:

Information and support for victims & witnesses | The Crown Prosecution Service (cps.gov.uk)

I need some extra support. Who can help me?

Northumbria Victim and Witness Service will provide support independent of the investigation. They offer free and confidential advice for anyone affected by crime living in Tyne and Wear and the Northumberland areas.

They can help with practical and emotional support and can even support you going to court. They can help you access restorative justice options which can help empower you to cope, recover and move on.

For more information you can call: 0800 011 3116 

Or visit: https://nvws.northumbria.police.uk/

back to top