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Victims


Answer

If an incident reported to the police has no further lines of investigation and they are unable to take any further action, you will be informed of this and the reasons for the decision.

When you report a crime to the police, they will automatically ask you if you would like help from Victim Support. Anyone affected by crime can contact Victim Support directly even if you do not report the matter to the police or the police are unable to take further action. Please see Related Information for contact details.

If the incident requires the police to attend or if there are viable lines of enquiry, an officer will be assigned to the case and you will be given a reference number. Please make a note of this number as you will need to quote it in further communication with the police about the matter.

The way the police investigate a matter can vary depending on the nature of the crime and the unique circumstances. All reports of crime are taken seriously and investigated with impartiality.

Information of crimes and incidents reported to the police are utilised by local forces to direct their resources to help in the detection and prevention of crime.


Answer

A child (anyone under 18 years of age) is deemed 'vulnerable' and is eligible for Special Measures to assist them to give their evidence in court. One such Special Measure, is the opportunity to have their interview video recorded. The interview takes place in a designated room and is recorded by an operator trained in the use of the video recording equipment. The purpose of recording the interview in this way, is, should the Court deem the video to be acceptable, it may then be produced as evidence-in-chief for the prosecution case (this is instead of the child having to attend court in person to answer questions).

The officer in the case will provide the details on the location of the interview, the rooms to be used and the persons to be present and of their roles. Interview supporters (for example parents or carers) may be present either in an adjacent room or in the interview room. Please be aware that in some instances, the officer may consider that the presence of a parent/carer is not necessary/required. One such example is when the parent/carer is also a witness in the case (perhaps being the first person the child has talked to). In such a case, the parent being present at the interview and hearing the full disclosure of the child could potentially be damaging to the case as a whole and therefore it is best that they do not attend. A further example may be where a child has told the officers that he/she did not wish for his parent/carer to be present.

In each case, ultimately it will be at the officer's discretion as to whether an interview supporter (parent/carer) is to be present at the interview. They will base this on all the circumstances of the case. If you have any queries in relation to the video interview procedure, the officer in the case should be able to assist.


Answer

A disability should not prevent a person's ability to report a crime. Due to the variety of special needs/mental health issues that people experience, some forces may provide specialist training for police officers.

However, when a case is reported involving a person with such problems, every effort will be made to ensure that they are treated fairly and sensitively and the evidence that they offer is obtained in a manner that allows it to be used in future criminal proceedings. If, for example, communication aids are needed by an individual then these will be provided to enable them to make their disclosure. Likewise, the force will cater for any other specific needs.


Answer

If you have encountered an incident that was motivated by who you are or who someone thinks you are, you may have been a victim of a hate crime/incident.

For example, a person is beaten up and whilst being attacked the offender makes offensive comments about the person's believed race or ethnicity / sexual orientation/religion or belief/disability or transgender identity.

Please see Q643 for definitions of a hate crime/hate incident.

The police take reports of these incidents very seriously and if you feel you have been the victim of a hate crime/incident you should report the matter to your local police force. Reports can also be made online via True Vision who report it to the police on your behalf, should you not wish to report it directly. For more information please see the websites in the Related Information.


Answer

Yes, it is an assault. An assault is any act that intentionally or recklessly causes the victim to apprehend immediate and unlawful personal injury or violence. If violence is threatened, there must be the ability to carry out the threat at the time.

In law, an assault does not have to involve physical contact, an assault may involve a threat alone. However, there must be the prospect of the threat being carried out immediately and for the victim to fear that the threat will be carried out immediately. If physical contact is made, the offence is actually a 'battery'.

Most people who describe an assault, are actually describing a battery - see Q479 for more information on this.


Answer

There isn't a specific offence of road rage, it's a term that's been used to describe various incidents involving motor vehicles, their drivers and other road users. Road rage has been used to describe anything from verbal abuse and threats to the damage being caused to vehicles and physical violence towards other drivers. Usually, road rage incidents are triggered by an incident that then results in a disagreement between drivers. Rule 147 of the Highway Code states:

Be considerate. Be careful of and considerate towards all types of road users, especially those requiring extra care.

 

  • you must not throw anything out of a vehicle, for example, cigarette ends, cans, paper or carrier bags. This can endanger other road users, particularly motorcyclists and cyclists
  • try to be understanding if other road users cause problems; they may be inexperienced or not know the area well
  • be patient; remember that anyone can make a mistake
  • not allow yourself to become agitated or involved if someone is behaving badly on the road. This will only make the situation worse. Pull over, calm down and, when you feel relaxed, continue your journey
  • Slow down and hold back if a road user pulls out into your path at a junction. Allow them to get clear. Do not over-react by driving too close behind to intimidate them.

 

Shouted/swearing/abusive gestures

If someone has shouted, sworn or made abusive gestures to you then this could constitute a crime but it is very unlikely that a prosecution would take place because there will usually be a lack of evidence e.g. from independent witnesses. Nonetheless, if someone has made a genuine threat against you (this could be considered an assault) or if they have used abuse that you feel was targeted at you because of your race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender, you should report the matter to your local police.

 

Assault

If you have been pushed, punched, kicked or received a genuine threat of violence, we would suggest you report the matter to the local police. If the incident is ongoing and you are in fear for your safety call 999.

 

Damage to your vehicle/property

If your vehicle has been deliberately damaged then this may constitute the offence of criminal damage. You should report such incidents to your local police.

 

Driving offences

A driver involved in a road rage incident may also be guilty of a motoring offence such as careless driving, driving without reasonable consideration for other road users or dangerous driving.

 

General information

Please be aware that in all cases it will depend on the circumstances and available evidence as to what the police can do. In some cases, the reality may be that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute someone.


Answer

Firstly, you should speak to your parents or guardians. Whatever has happened your parents or guardians may be more supportive than you think. Your parents were young once and although initially, they might be shocked/angry, hopefully, they will do their utmost to help you.

If you feel that you cannot speak to your parents or guardians then perhaps a trusted adult, such as a teacher, a family friend or a relative will be able to help you.

If you do not feel confident confiding in them Childline and the NSPCC have trained advisors who can give impartial advice and do not judge no matter what. With Childline you are completely in control you can say as much or as little as you want. However, the more you say, the more likely it is that you will get the best advice.

If a criminal offence has been committed you can also contact the Police, they have specialist officers that are trained to deal with young people.

Whatever has happened to you, however serious your problem, it will have happened to someone else and you are not alone. You will feel better about sharing your problems with someone who is better equipped to advise you.

For more help and information please see the websites in Related Information.


Answer

The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime in England and Wales sets out the services that a victim of crime can expect to receive throughout the criminal justice process in England and Wales. It lists the organisations that must provide those services to the victim and sets a minimum standard for these services.

The full Code can be accessed via the relevant link in the Related Information section. However please find a summary of the Code below:

Right 1 - To be able to understand and to be understood

You have the Right to be given information in a way that is easy to understand and to be provided with help to be understood, including, where necessary, access to interpretation and translation services.

Right 2 - To have the details of the crime recorded without unjustified delay

You have the Right to have details of the crime recorded by the police as soon as possible after the incident. If you are required to provide a witness statement or be interviewed, you have the Right to be provided with additional support to assist you through this process.

Right 3 - To be provided with information when reporting the crime

You have the Right to receive written confirmation when reporting a crime, to be provided with information about the criminal justice process and to be told about programmes or services for victims. This might include services where you can meet with the suspect or offender, which is known as Restorative Justice.

Right 4 - To be referred to services that support victims and have services and support tailored to your needs

You have the Right to be referred to services that support victims, which includes the Right to contact them directly, and to have your needs assessed so services and support can be tailored to meet your needs. If eligible, you have the Right to
be offered a referral to specialist support services and to be told about additional support available at court, for example special measures.

Right 5 - To be provided with information about compensation

Where eligible, you have the Right to be told about how to claim compensation for any loss, damage or injury caused as a result of crime.

Right 6 - To be provided with information about the investigation and prosecution

You have the Right to be provided with updates on your case and to be told when important decisions are taken. You also have the Right, at certain stages of the justice process, to ask for decisions to be looked at again by the relevant service provider.

Right 7 - To make a Victim Personal Statement

You have the Right to make a Victim Personal Statement, which tells the court how the crime has affected you and is considered when sentencing the offender. You will be given information about the process.

Right 8 - To be given information about the trial, trial process and your role as a witness

If your case goes to court, you have the Right to be told the time, date and location of any hearing and the outcome of those hearings in a timely way. If you are required to give evidence, you have the Right to be offered appropriate help before the trial and, where possible, if the court allows, to meet with the prosecutor before giving evidence.

Right 9 - To be given information about the outcome of the case and any appeals

You have the Right to be told the outcome of the case and, if the defendant is convicted, to be given an explanation of the sentence. If the offender appeals against their conviction or sentence, you have the Right to be told about the
appeal and its outcome.

Right 10 - To be paid expenses and have property returned

If you are required to attend court and give evidence, you have the Right to claim certain expenses. If any of your property was taken as evidence, you have the Right to get it back as soon as possible.

Right 11 - To be given information about the offender following a conviction

Where eligible, you have the Right to be automatically referred to the Victim Contact Scheme, which will provide you with information about the offender and their progress in prison, and if/when they become eligible for consideration of parole or release. Where applicable, you also have the Right to make a new Victim Personal Statement, in which you can say how the crime continues to affect you.

Right 12 - To make a complaint about your Rights not being met

If you believe that you have not received your Rights, you have the Right to make a complaint to the relevant service provider. If you remain unhappy, you can contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

The police's responsibilities to a victim of crime are as follows -

A victim is classed as a person who 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;
  • 'businesses' are not included in this definition (see Note 2 on Page 3 of the Code for more information on this).

As a victim of crime you are entitled to receive the following from the police -

  • if the crime is finalised at source (not investigated) then the victim must be notified of this within 5 working days (1 working day under Enhanced Rights – see page 10 of the Code);
  • must supply the victim with written information on what to expect from the criminal justice system as soon as possible, and not later than 5 working days after reporting the crime;
  • must inform Victim Support services of the victims' details within 2 working days of the crime report (unless the victim asks them not to do so);
  • If the case goes to court the police must inform victims of the date, time and location of the first court hearing;
  • inform victims within 5 working days of receipt from the court, if an arrest warrant has been issued for a suspect who failed to attend court and the outcome of a hearing if the suspect is re-arrested;
 
You are entitled to be informed by the police of the following information and to have the reasons explained to you within 5 working days of a suspect being:
 arrested;
  •  being issued an out of court disposal
  •  interviewed under caution;
  •  released without charge;
  •  released on police bail, or if police bail conditions are changed or cancelled.
 
Informing the victim can include by letter, telephone, personal visit, fax, text message or email.

Vulnerable victims

Vulnerable victims are provided with an enhanced service. You may be classed as vulnerable if -

  • you are under 18 years of age at the time of the offence or
  • the quality of your evidence is likely to be affected because:

(i) you suffer from mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983;
(ii) you otherwise have a significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning; or
(iii) you have a physical disability or are suffering from a physical disorder

Vulnerable victims must be informed within 1 working day if a suspect has been arrested or a warrant has been issued due to the suspects failure to attend at court.


Answer

The definition of a hate crime is:

Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a person's disability or perceived disability; race or perceived race; or religion or perceived religion; or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived transgender identity (Crown Prosecution Service).

The definition of a hate incident is:

Any non-crime incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race/religion or perceived religion / sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation/disability or perceived disability/transgender or perceived to be transgender (College of Policing).

To list, hate crimes and hate incidents are based or motivated by:

  • race or ethnicity
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation
  • disability
  • transgender identity

For example, a person is beaten up and whilst being attacked the offender makes offensive comments about that person's believed race or ethnicity / sexual orientation/religion or belief/disability, or transgender identity.

A hate crime also takes place when the crime is motivated by the offender's incorrect beliefs. For example, a person is beaten up and comments are incorrectly made about that person's assumed race or ethnicity / sexual orientation/religion or belief/disability, or transgender identity.

Other personal characteristics may be the reasoning behind certain incidents such as age and particular subcultures (e.g. Goths, Emos ), however, these are not considered hate crimes in law. Offences of this nature may still be prosecuted but not specifically as hate crimes. Specific legislation allows the courts to impose tougher sentences on offenders that carry out hate crimes.

Police take reports of these incidents very seriously and if you feel you have been the victim of a hate crime you should report the matter to your local police force. Reports can also be made online via True Vision who in turn report it to the police on your behalf, should you not wish to report it directly.

For further information please see the links in related information.


Answer

A Community Resolution is a method of restorative justice and is an alternative way of dealing with less serious crimes and incidents, allowing officers to use their professional judgement when dealing with offenders. It can be used for offences such as low-level public order, criminal damage, theft, and minor assaults, where the victim has agreed that they do not want the police to take formal action.

The use of Community Resolution will enable victims to have quick resolutions and closure to their crime, offenders will receive speedy justice and there will be reduced bureaucracy for police officers. Examples of a Community resolution could include a simple apology, an offer of compensation or a promise to clear up any graffiti or criminal damage.

Community Resolutions do not constitute a criminal record and are not currently recorded on the Police National Computer. They are however recorded locally on police information systems and can be accessed for intelligence purposes. A previous Community Resolution will be taken into consideration if further offences are committed.

Community Resolutions are not disclosed as part of a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) standard check. They might, however, be disclosed as part of an enhanced check for certain offences in the 'relevant information' section, i.e. the offence has a bearing on the kind of work you are applying for.


Answer

Victim Support is an independent charity who provide free, confidential help and support to people affected by crime or traumatic events. You do not have to report a crime to the police to be referred to Victim Support, anyone can contact them directly for help. Trained staff and volunteers provide a wide range of specialist services such as practical and emotional support, and can help people affected by all types of crime. The services extend not only to the victim but also to their friends and family. See the links in Related Information for details.

If you are a victim and your case is being investigated by the police, you will be assigned a Victim Care Officer. Their role is to ensure that your needs are considered and that you are kept informed about developments in the investigation. Victim's entitlements are governed by the Victim's Code, this outlines the support and information available to you at each stage of the process. Further details can be found in Related Information and also Q622.


Answer

Restorative justice is a voluntary process designed to allow victims to communicate directly with their offender. This can either be face to face, through video link or by writing letters. The idea is to have a positive impact on both the victim and the offender by allowing them to come to terms with what happened. In order for it to be effective, the victim must be willing to participate and the offender must have admitted the offence.

Communication between victim and offender is at the centre of this approach. The victim has the opportunity to ask any questions and offer forgiveness, while the offender must take responsibility for their actions.

A restorative justice facilitator must decide that the process is safe for both parties' to be involved with. The three main types of restorative justice are Victim-Offender Mediation (VOM ), Family Group Conferencing (FGC ) and referral orders. Below is a brief outline of each approach:

  • VOM allows the parties to communicate either directly with the help of a mediator, or indirectly through separate meetings with the mediator.
  • FGC is similar to this but allows family/community members to be present and to help the offender come up with ways to resolve things.
  • Referral orders are mainly used on first time young offenders- they appear before a panel that overlook the contract that is made between the offender and victim.

For further information on restorative justice and the different methods, please see the link in Related Information.


Answer

Generally, in such cases, the police do tend to contact the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the child, after they have spoken with the child. However, there are some circumstances in which the police do not contact the parent(s)/guardian(s), circumstances where they deem it to be inappropriate and not in the child's best interests to do so. The police always seek to act in the best interests of the victim, risk assess each set of circumstances, and then determine the action they are going to take.

Victims of crime, whether they are adults or children, have certain entitlements that are set out in the Victims Code of Practice. This Code of Practice sets out the services that a victim of crime can expect to receive throughout the criminal justice process in England and Wales.

If you are a young victim of crime and are worried about making a report to the police, please see the websites in Related Information, which provide useful information.

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