Home > Civil Rights & Law > The Rights of a Victim of Crime

The Rights of a Victim of Crime

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 21 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
Victims Rights Crime Victim Support

Anyone who has been a victim of a crime has certain legal rights. These rights will include compensation claims for certain crimes and the right to be informed of certain details regarding the criminal.

Victims and Reporting a Crime

There is no legal rule that can make the victim of a crime report the crime to the police. Not reporting the crime will mean that the perpetrator is free to repeat the crime. It is important to report crimes to ensure that the police do have a chance of catching criminals. A victim does not have to report the crime in person. A representative can be sent to report the crime on behalf of the victim and the police will still investigate. But it may be the case that the police will wish to speak to the victim in order to obtain evidence.

The Right to Be Kept Informed by the Police

Victims of crime do have legal rights to be informed regularly on the police’s investigations into the crime. The victim should be updated on the investigation on at least a monthly basis. Victims should also be informed if the criminal is arrested and charged with the crime. Updates should also include whether the criminal has been bailed and sentenced during a court hearing. If the criminal is sent to prison for over 12 months for a violent or sexual crime the victim should be notified of the criminal’s release.

Making a Victim Personal Statement

Crime victims do have the right to make a victim personal statement (VPS). This gives victims the opportunity to detail how the crime has affected them whether physically, emotionally, financially and psychologically. Victims can also state their concerns over intimidation fears if the criminal is bailed. A victim personal statement is not a witness statement but a judge may consider this statement when deciding on a sentence. If the police do not ask whether the victim wishes to make a VPS the victim can request to make one.

Claiming Compensation as a Victim of a Crime

There are certain criminal acts that can lead to the victim claiming compensation. If a victim has been injured or had property damaged or stolen then a claim for criminal compensation may be warranted. The police will need to be informed of the crime and given details of the injury, theft or damage. If the criminal is apprehended and the case does proceed to the courts then criminal compensation can be claimed through the courts.

Claiming Criminal Compensation through Civil Courts

Another alternative when claiming criminal compensation is to use the civil courts. This option can be pursued whether the perpetrator is found guilty or not. There are downsides to this method of claiming criminal compensation. The victim will usually require a legal representative and this can be expensive. The victim can also lose the civil case and if this does happen they may have to pay all court costs. A good lawyer or solicitor will be able to assess the likelihood of winning the civil court case.

The Right to Victim Support

Everyone in the UK has the right to Victim Support. This service is free and is designed to help people who have been the victims of crime. The Victim Support organisation is a national charity that offers information and emotional support to crime victims. This help is available whether the victim has reported the crime or not. Victim support is not part of the police or the courts system.

How Can Victim Support Help

There are number of ways Victim Support can help those who have been affected by a crime. This support will include:

  • Advice to crime victims on the rights that apply to them
  • Information and help on criminal compensation
  • Counselling services for crime victims
  • Advice on court procedures and what to expect if attending court
  • Extra support for those who have been affected by the death of a friend or family member by murder or manslaughter, including help with funeral arrangements
It is important for the victims of crime to be aware of their rights and the help that is available to them. There are many organisations that will provide free help to crime victims including Victim Support, Women’s Aid and The Survivor’s Trust.

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We are a small ebay business dealing in second hand clothing and accessories and our main sources of stock are car boot sales. We purchased a big bundle from someone recently, and listed and sold some of these items on eBay. We were contacted by the police that these items were believed to be stolen. After an investigation, the items which we still had in our possession (i.e. what we had not sold) were returned to us as they stated that there was lack of evidence that they were the person who reported it stolen. We are now naturally concerned about a civil case. The goods had apparently been stolen during a courier/removal company helping someone move home, and we feel as much a victim in this case. Should we be concerned about a civil case against us?
zozzle - 21-Feb-17 @ 10:16 AM
I had my mobility scooter stolen from inside the flats I live I had previously had it stored in a safe room then the owners of the flats wanted the scooters put in your flats there was one other scooter which was twice as small as mine so she had no problem placing it in her flat but mine just never even got through the fire doors leading to my flat so I had to leave it at the bottom of the flats which I told my owners of the flats it was not safe there I wasn't even insured because it was a old one in insight I should of because the hassle it caused was bad just the taxi fares and price of a smaller scooter which would hold my weight and fit in my flat police have some CCTV of the caretaker but nothing is happening fast I've made sure to insure this one but is this my fault or not has anybody had a similar thing happen.
Jonny - 27-Jul-16 @ 1:55 PM
@Tata. Firstly, you need to speak with the police and find out where the case is up to. It may be that they have simply not managed to find enough evidence to make an arrest/prosecute anyone. If you're not happy with the police response, you could try the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
CivilRightsMovement - 14-Apr-15 @ 12:34 PM
Hi, I live with my partner in a block of flats, top floor. Last night our bike was stolen from the premises. It wasn't a burglary as there was no damage on the locks. So it was someone fromthe same property who knows about the bike and we are pretty sure in our suspicions. Plus there should be a video evidence from the entrance cameras. We reported all this to the police. Obviously they promised to call us back. But like in a previous situation, nothing went further. I would like to know if there is any way of moving this case any further under the rights of the victim of crime. Cheers
Tata - 11-Apr-15 @ 5:34 PM
@Bean - you would be better appealing to the financial ombudsman about this. Insurance companies should not give 'blanket' refusal to pay out on a with keys car theft without acknowledgement/consideration of the all th details. Find out more here.
CivilRightsMovement - 12-Dec-14 @ 12:06 PM
My son has recently had his beloved customised car stolen and written off. The police appear to show no interest, even blaming my son at first, even though he was at home asleep. He had parked the car outside of a friend's home before going for a birthday drink. The friend delivered him home so that he would not drink and drive. Unbeknownst to my son, he had dropped his keys at the roadside when locking and leaving the vehicle. As a key was used in the theft, no insurance claim can be made. No forensics were carried out on the vehicle and my son had to pay a £360 release fee. He is valiantly trying to recover as many parts from the vehicle as possible before beginning the project again with another similar car. We have heard nothing from the police as they appear to have decided, incorrectly, that my son stole his own vehicle. They haven't even interviewed the friend that delivered him home on that night. My son is going to be thousands of pounds out of pocket and has lost all faith in the police. Is there any way to claim compensation as the victim of a crime?
Bean - 11-Dec-14 @ 3:40 PM
I was staled by a person one morning, I managed to walk away physically unharmed but psycologically stunned! Next morning I discovered that the person had murdered (?) someone literally 35 minutes after my run in! I supplied a very comprehensive statement to the police several days after the event. After 2 years of suffering I formally requested a copy of my witness statement from the CPS and discovered at least 60% of my statement is missing! Just because my statement would have inadvertantly supported the initial claim of the defendant does not give any police officer the right to omit vital evidence from my statement! In effect, the shear horror I experienced in that event was considered irrelevant, but as was stated to me in written form "I am sure you will understand that court trials are based around the points the prosecution need to prove and only evidence supporting that aim will get as far as the court room"! The very person who wrote that, shouted at mein a private meetting at a police station (8 months after the court case concluded) and said, and I quote "I and I alone took the deccision not to submit any of your evidence for I was there for the prosecution"! To conclude, I was a victim and subsequently a witness of and for the defendant! But I have never lost hope that one day, my true story will come out and prove corruption amongst the police and that us victims (I had to receieve counselling) are not always treated as stated by the CJS!
Lee - 20-Feb-12 @ 7:25 AM
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