Support in court

Victim Support provides services to ensure that victims are given the support they need before, during and after court, including taking Victim Personal Statements, managing witness care units and providing specialist witness support.

With over 40 years’ experience as the leading charity for people affected by crime, we have the knowledge and expertise to ensure that victims are given the support they need before, during and after court. We offer a range of cost-effective services that free up front-line police services, and ensure that victims’ voices are heard, and they receive the support they need and deserve.

The Victims’ Code states that all victims of crime are entitled to make a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) if they wish, informing the court about the impact the crime has had on their lives. This statement is separate to an evidential witness statement and a VPS will only be read to the court – either by the victim or the prosecutor – if an offender is convicted for the crime.

The VPS is normally taken by the police officer at the same time that the evidential statement is taken and is often referred to as a Stage 1 VPS (S1VPS). In more serious or complex cases the VPS may be taken once the court case has begun and this is often referred to as a Stage 2 VPS (S2VPS).

Why choose Victim Support?

Based upon a successful pilot carried out in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, Victim Support now offers police forces a full VPS service. Under the Victims’ Code, police can outsource their VPS procedure, which relieves pressure on front-line policing and can bring savings of up to 70%.

Our comprehensive toolkit is proven and cost-effective and, importantly, gives victims their rightful voice.

Witness care units (WCUs) are central to supporting victims and witnesses who have made evidential statements and who may be called by the prosecution to give evidence at a criminal court hearing in England and Wales.

A WCU carries out needs assessments and liaises between the witness, police, courts and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). It is the main provider of court and prosecution-based information for victims and the principle point of contact for the victim once the case enters the criminal justice system.

Historically, the WCU has been managed jointly by the police and the CPS.

Why choose Victim Support?

Victim Support offers police forces a proven and effective staffing and management model for your WCUs. In Northamptonshire, for example, we have been commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner to manage the WCU as part of an integrated victim services multi-agency hub.

With over 40 years’ experience as the leading charity for people affected by crime, we have the knowledge and expertise to ensure that victims are given the support they need.

Victim Support has been commissioned by the General Medical Council (GMC) to support witnesses who appear before tribunals in relation to the conduct of their members.

The nature of the support provided by Victim Support is similar to that in any other type of tribunal; we explain the procedure surrounding the tribunal, provide a point of contact and, upon request, provide emotional support.

We also offer a witness the opportunity of a pre-tribunal meeting to familiarise themselves with the surroundings of the venue where the matter will be heard, and answer any questions on the process.

To find out how we protect your information and your rights, including how to access the information we have about you and your right to withdraw your consent at any time, please read our Fair Processing Notice (opens a 101KB pdf file).