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The legal bases on which the police and other agencies make referrals of personal information to Victim Support

The police can rely on performance of a public task, compliance with a legal obligation, or the consent of the individual the information is about as the legal basis for making referrals of personal information to Victim Support so that services can be provided to victims and witnesses of crime. Voluntary sector agencies must obtain the consent of the individual the information is about for the sharing of personal information with another agency in relation to services to victims and witnesses of crime. The legal bases of public task and legal obligation do not extend to voluntary sector providers in relation to sharing personal information with other service providers.

The Victims’ Code of Practice issued under Section 32 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 demonstrates that the provision of personal information to Victim Support for the purpose of services being provided to victims and witnesses of crime has a clear basis in law.

Some personal information is considered sensitive information (known as special category data), in that it reveals an individual’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, information concerning their health or sex life, or sexual orientation, and genetic or biometric information. Where the police need to provide such information to Victim Support for the purpose of services to victims and witnesses of crime, the police can use either processing being required for reasons of substantial public interest or the explicit consent of the individual the information is about as the legal basis for providing the information.

Voluntary sector agencies must obtain the explicit consent of the individual the information is about for the sharing of such information with another agency in relation to services to victims and witnesses of crime.

An individual can ask the police not to have their personal information referred to Victim Support. The consequences would be that the individual may not benefit or fully benefit from the services that are available to victims and witnesses of crime. The individual can still choose to refer themselves at a later date.

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