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.

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.

Victims Code – Rights