The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (Victim’s Code) sets out the service you can expect from the criminal justice system from the moment you report a crime to the trial in court.

Who is a victim under the code?

This Code acknowledges that the terms ‘complainant’ and ‘survivor’ are often used in the criminal justice system to describe a person who has made a criminal allegation to the police. However, for the purpose of this Code, the definition of a ‘victim’ is:

  • a person who has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by a criminal offence;
  • a close relative (or a nominated family spokesperson) of a person whose death was directly caused by a criminal offence.

You can also receive Rights under this Code if you are:

  • a parent or guardian of the victim if the victim is under 18 years of age;5 or
  • a nominated family spokesperson if the victim has a mental impairment or has been so badly injured because of a criminal offence that they are unable to communicate or lacks the capacity to do so.

Your rights under the Victim’s Code of Practise:

As a victim of crime, you are entitled to access information about the range of victim support services available to you.  You will be directed to victim support services where required under this Code, but this does not prevent you from accessing those services directly if you wish. Service providers must communicate with you in simple and accessible language, taking appropriate measures (e.g. EasyRead, Braille or the use of a Registered Intermediary) to assist you to understand and be understood. In considering appropriate measures, service providers must take account of any relevant personal characteristic which may affect your ability to understand and be understood.

Enhanced entitlements under the Victims Code

The Victims Code sets out enhanced entitlements for victims in the following categories because they are more likely to require enhanced support and services through the criminal justice process:

  • victims of the most serious crime (including a bereaved close relative)
  • persistently targeted victims
  • vulnerable or intimidated victims

Code of Practice for Victims of Crime 2020

You can access the Code of Practice in a range of accessibility options here, or view the British Sign Language translation here.