Support For Victims

Victims’ Code of Practice

The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (VCOP or Victims Code) was updated by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in November 2020 and came into effect on 1st April 2021. It sets out the rights for victims of crime and the standards that must be provided to victims by organisations in the criminal justice system. These include the police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), court services and more.
The Victims’ Code is based on 12 clearly defined rights and promotes victims’ of crime being treated in a respectful, sensitive and professional manner without discrimination of any kind.

Victims' Code in image form

The Victims Code ensures: 

  • Victims of all crime types get access to vital services, like pre-trial therapy and counselling.
  • Close relatives of somebody who has been killed as a result of a crime or those who are a parent or carer of a victim of crime aged under 18 also have the right to support.
  • Enhanced services are available to victims who are considered vulnerable or intimidated, are victims of the most serious crime (for example domestic abuse, hate crimes, sexual offences and including a bereaved close relative) or have been persistently targeted.
  • The police will maintain contact with victims throughout the investigation process based on how often the victim chooses to be contacted. The police will keep victims informed of progress in the investigation (e.g. arrests are made or suspects are charged).
  • Victims are automatically referred to victims’ services by the police for emotional and practical support. This can include specialist support for children, victims of sexual offences, or victims of domestic abuse.
  • In addition to a witness statement, victims can make a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) explaining how the crime has affected them physically, emotionally, financially or in any other way. A VPS can be read in court at the choice of the victim.
  • Special measures options at court and out of court disposal options such as restorative justice process are explained to victims.

These are just some of the matters covered in the Victims’ Code. The full Victims’ Code can be accessed via this link in an accessible format and the PDF document is located below. 

Other useful guidance documents are available on the government website link Statutory guidance on The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime in England and Wales and supporting public information materials

The materials include: 

  • Code of Practice for Victims of Crime in England and Wales
  • An easy to read version of the Code of Practice for Victims’ of Crime with images and explanations of legal words
  • A 16-page booklet ‘Victims’ of crime – understanding your rights’
  • A booklet for ‘young victims of crime: Understanding the support you should get’
  • A Victims’ 12 rights poster
Bedfordshire Victim Care Services Logo

It is important to remember that you do not have to report a crime to access help from support services for victims. If you feel you have been affected by a crime and would like to discuss how you could receive support, Bedfordshire Victim Care Services (BVCS) can help you. Bedfordshire Victim Care Services is free, confidential, available to everyone and is a way for you to find the help that meets your specific needs.

For more information please visit the Bedfordshire Victim Care Services website, contact 0800 0282887, email or complete a self-referral form found within the ‘contact us’ section of the Bedfordshire Victim Care Services website.

Victim Needs Analysis (VNA) – 2021

Victims of crime and those affected by crimes impacts are a fundamental focus within policing and for the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC). Every OPCC must be a champion for victims as per their statutory obligations.

In order to further fulfil this commitment a Victim Needs Analysis (VNA) was carried out to help understand the needs and issues for individuals and communities across Bedfordshire. It has been five years since the last VNA was published in 2016. Given the duty to commission victim services that provide victims with the best support, it is absolutely vital that the OPCC has a well-rounded understanding of victims’ needs and the issues that they face locally in comparison to the national context, and any key changes since the last VNA was released. This 2021 Bedfordshire OPCC Victims’ Needs Analysis (VNA) set out to achieve just that.

Primary goals of this Victims’ Needs Analysis:-

To provide:

  • an intelligence lead and evidence-based guide to further aid the commissioning of future victim services
  • a strategic overview of national policy and the implications for local areas.
  •  review of national and local data to understand key themes and trends relating to crime and victims and the demand on services.
  • a strategic overview of local Community Safety Partnership and Police priorities.
  • an overview of current service provision, identifying good practice and identify gaps.
  • a strong understanding of victims needs for the newly elected PCC later this year.

A literature review of key national policy was carried out including existing, new, updated and coming into effect in future. Quantitative and qualitative data was assessed and where appropriate compared against national or similar force data. This included recorded crime statistics, victim surveys and victim police complaints information. Victim engagement was paramount in completing the bespoke survey which collected 296 responses to questions relating to key areas of research for the VNA. Key partner contribution was also sought from Bedfordshire Police, The Ministry of Justice and the charitable sector.

This Victims’ Needs Analysis has designed a series of 28 recommendations in response to areas of change required, covering areas such as; process changes, cultural reviews and approach of commissioned services across partnerships. The recommendations have been designed to be delivered, monitored and completed so that the contributors to this work can be assured of action.

Victims Need Analysis (VNA) – 2016

We have produced a Needs Assessment to inform our future commissioning intentions for victims’ services in Bedfordshire. This process took place with the involvement of our key partners and stakeholders, including the Bedfordshire Victims’ Services Partnership. The document can be downloaded below:-

Victims Code – Rights