Research plays a vital role in improving our understanding and support of victims and witnesses of crime. It allows us to better comprehend their needs and experiences, so that we can campaign on their behalf. Listening to victims and witnesses is an essential part of what we do.
Our reports allow us to make a strong evidence-based case for particular public policy stances by presenting the views of victims and witnesses alongside evidence and data from the criminal justice system and elsewhere.
We are the national voice for victims and witnesses, making sure that the experiences of victims and witnesses are heard at all levels of decision making. As we are in touch with over one million people affected by crime every year, we’re in a unique position as a charity to understand their needs and to speak out on their behalf.
You can find our annual reports here.
Every year more than 600 murders take place in England and Wales. These devastating events affect not only the lives of the families and friends who have lost loved ones, but also those who witness them. The current research explores and identifies the impact of being a witness to murder. It also sheds light on the difference that a support service can make for the witnesses’ recovery.
Funded by the Office of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) in North Yorkshire, this research provides valuable insight into the often changing needs of victims of crime, their experience of accessing support services, good practice, and the gaps in the current service provision in North Yorkshire.
Funded by the Welsh government, this report looks at the impact of hate crime and hate incidents and barriers to reporting the crime and engagement with the support service. It also adds to an understanding of the support needs of victims of hate crime and hate incidents.
Funded by The Bell Foundation, this research highlights the impact of language barriers for service users who speak English as a second or additional language (ESL) across the criminal justice system, whether as victims, witnesses, suspects, defendants, or people with convictions. It also provides practical tools to allow practitioners to improve their practice in working with victims and witnesses who speak ESL. The project is a collaboration between Victim Support, The Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research (ICPR) at Birkbeck, University of London, and The Centre for Justice Innovation.
Funded by MOPAC, this report looks at the impact of witnessing DA on children and young people and barriers experienced by CYP in accessing support services. It also adds to an understanding of the service needs of CYP who witness DA at home. Following the findings and lessons learned from this project we make a number of recommendations that would help CYP who witness DA at home cope with and recover from it.
Funded by the Welsh government, this report focuses on conversations with young people about hate crime. It provides valuable information about the knowledge and awareness of hate crime and hate incidents and of support provision among CYP in Wales. A high percentage of the participants had been victims of hate crime and hate incidents, and these incidents had had a profound and detrimental effect on their lives. The research also explores the CYP’s perspectives on and experiences of the current support provision, and provides recommendations on how to improve the engagement of, and support for, CYP affected by hate crime in Wales.
This briefing sets out some of VS’s initial findings relating to language barriers of victims and witnesses with English as an additional language in the CJS. The project is a collaboration between Victim Support, The Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research (ICPR) at Birkbeck, University of London, and The Centre for Justice Innovation, and is supported by The Bell Foundation.
Demand for support increased for almost all crime types during the Covid-19 pandemic. Crime experienced by victims and survivors has increased in severity and intensity since the initial lockdown, leading to higher levels of anxiety and mental health problems amongst victims.
Our position on key policy areas relating to major incidents and areas of improvement.
Funded by the Welsh government, this report maps and describes the current provision and the support in place for children and young people age 11 to 16 affected by hate crime and incidents in Wales. By doing so, it also highlights any gaps in provision. A supplementary literature review summarises and discusses evidence and knowledge from academic and grey literature on children and young people affected by hate crime.
This report is looking at barriers to escaping an abusive intimate relationship experienced by survivors of domestic abuse, and also explores differences in barriers between survivors of different risk levels. The research discusses how the Government, support services and the CJS are responsible for the barriers and identifies possible actions and solutions. (December 2019).
Victim Support is calling on each political party to commit to improve support and strengthen the rights of victims of crime. We have set out four clear proposals to ensure that this happens.
Commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, this report explores the experience of victims and witnesses with mental health problems in the criminal justice system in Kent. It analyses who these victims are and identifies areas where support needs to be improve to better their journey through the justice system.
This report looks at the long-term impact of murder and manslaughter on bereaved families, their needs and the services required to best meet those needs. The report includes a review of existing research, and presents findings from new qualitative research (May 2019).
We undertook research on the use of domestic violence protection orders (DVPOs) and the delivery of our specialist DVPO caseworker project. We make a number of recommendations on ways to improve the DVPO process and how support services can use the respite period that DVPOs provide.
In 2017 we conducted research with domestic abuse survivors, VS Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) and caseworkers to better understand the experiences of survivors in the criminal justice system.
A report looking at how survivors and victims of domestic abuse experience the criminal justice system.
This report draws on VS’s experience of supporting over 1,400 people affected by the terror attacks during 2017, building on existing evidence on impact. It is based on quantitative research and includes information about who our service users are, how they accessed support, and what they needed, as well as recommendations for improvement (November 2017).
Victim Support was commissioned by Safer Cumbria to co-design a Quality Assessment Framework and conduct an audit using specially developed tools to enable statutory agencies in Cumbria to monitor compliance with the Victims Code. This report outlines the framework that has been developed and findings from the pilot audit (August 2017).
What we think of the key policy areas concerning domestic abuse (April 2017).
The main policy issues regarding sexual violence, and our position on them (April 2017).
Our position on key issues surrounding hate crime and how to improve the experience of victims (April 2017).
The areas of policy we believe need to be addressed to improve the safety and wellbeing of children and young people (April 2017).
Our position on key areas relating to fraud and its impact on victims (April 2017).
Ahead of the general election on June 8 Victim Support is calling for each political party to put victims at the centre of their proposals to improve crime and policing, and commit to strengthening victims’ rights, and safeguarding and supporting the vulnerable (April 2017).
This new research shines a light on how victims experience the criminal justice process from beginning to end: their levels of satisfaction, how they are treated, the challenges they face, and whether their statutory rights are met (April 2017).
Victim Support’s new research explores similarities and differences in the impact of crime and expressed needs of victims across the main crime types. The report includes a review of existing research, and presents findings from new quantitative and qualitative research with over 400 VS service users (April 2017).
Research providing personal insights into the survivor’s and bereaved family’s journey through the existing victim services system in England and Wales, in order to better understand their needs and the barriers they face to accessing support. The report also looks at how the provision of support can ultimately be improved (November 2016).
An insight report into the demographics of victims of crime and the risk factors affecting rates of victimisation across the population for violent crime and theft (April 2016).
This report analyses data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales to examine the demographics of victims of violent crime (April 2016).
This report analyses data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales to examine the demographics of victims of theft (April 2016).
A report looking at why victims and witnesses of crime are facing increasingly long waits to see offenders brought to justice (June 2015).
This report looks at the hidden victimisation of children and young people (December 2014).
This report looks at the findings from a three-year research study exploring the extent and impact of criminal victimisation among people with mental health problems, as well as their experiences with the criminal justice system and other services after crime (October 2013).
This report looks at the experiences of victims and witnesses who have attended the crown court (October 2013).
This report is based on research jointly commissioned by Make Justice Work and Victim Support, and was designed to establish whether victims of crime are open to the greater use of community sentences (September 2012).
This report brings together official government data and new Victim Support survey findings to show that failures by the criminal justice system to keep victims informed undermine confidence and make them less likely to report incidents in future (July 2011).
An overview of the performance of the criminal justice system, specifically in relation to victims and witnesses (July 2011).
This report looks at the thoughts and opinions of victims on sentencing (December 2010).
A research report commissioned by BMRB Social Research which explores the link between violent victimisation and offending behaviour in young people (September 2007).
A research report commissioned by Victim Support and funded by Co-operative Insurance, focusing on identifying and understanding the support needs of victims of hate crime motivated by race, sexuality and religion (June 2006).
A research report into the needs of people bereaved by homicide, which we used as the basis to review our services and learning materials (February 2006).
A research report which looks at how Victim Support, and the organisations it works alongside, could improve the scope, coverage, effectiveness and quality of practical support for burglary victims in the future (December 2005).
A research report on how crime affects victims and our call for a new way of thinking about crime (February 2002).