Purpose of this privacy notice
This privacy notice sets out the standards that you can expect from the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner (‘OVC’) when we request or hold personal information (‘personal data’) about you as part of our research reviews. It includes how you can get access to a copy of your personal data, and what you can do if you think the standards are not being met.

The OVC is the data controller for the personal information we hold.


About personal information
Personal data is information about you as an individual. This privacy notice refers to the data we collect about you to inform our research reviews.

We conduct a range of research projects as part of our role to support the Victims’ Commissioner’s role in reviewing services that criminal justice agencies provide to victims of crime. This includes research with victims of crime, as well as professionals and practitioners who work with victims. The information we collect will depend on the nature of the study you are participating in. We will only collect the minimum amount of information needed for each research review we conduct.

Examples of personal data that we may collect are listed below. Please note that this information won’t be collected in all research reviews, it will only be collected when it is relevant to the research review you are taking part in.

  • Your name;
  • Your contact details (e.g. email, address, phone number);
  • Information relating to a crime committed against you;
  • Information about your family or personal circumstances;
  • Information concerning your health and medical conditions;
  • Information relating to your occupation;
  • Other information relevant to the research study you are participating in.

We know how important it is to protect your privacy and to comply with data protection laws. We will safeguard your personal data and will only disclose it where it is lawful to do so, or with your consent.


Purposes of collecting your data and the lawful basis for this
The OVC collects and processes your personal data to support the Victims’ Commissioner in carrying out her role. As laid out in section 49 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, the Victims’ Commissioner’s role is to: promote the interests of victims and witnesses; encourage good practice in treatment of victims and witnesses; and to keep under review the operation of the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.


Using your data
We collate the information you provide, with the information provided by other participants in each research review project. We use this information to review the services provided by criminal justice agencies in line with the Victims’ Commissioner’s role.

Any published research review outputs will be at a summary level and your personal data will be anonymised. The exception to this is where we use in-depth case studies, whereby your personal data will be anonymised as far as possible. We will work with you in these circumstances to ensure that as far as possible you will not be identifiable from these outputs.


The OVC uses a SmartSurvey account to collect survey responses for some of our research reviews. SmartSurvey collects and stores your response on our behalf in a highly secured environment.
The OVC uses specific settings on our account so that your IP address is not recorded and linked to your survey response. Your response is therefore anonymised as far as possible.

SmartSurvey do not use your data other than collecting and storing your survey response on our behalf. Your response is owned and managed by the OVC in line with the rest of this privacy notice. The OVC will delete your response from SmartSurvey once the survey has closed and the data has been securely saved by the OVC. If you have any queries about the handling of your data by SmartSurvey then please contact the OVC using the details provided in the: ‘you can get more details on’ section of this privacy notice.


Who the information may be shared with
We sometimes need to share the personal data we collect from you with trusted third parties. We will always notify you if we will be sharing your personal data. We will notify you when we gain consent from you to take part in the research study.

Please note that we only share your personal data with a third party when it is relevant and needed for a specific purpose. Examples of third parties we may work with include:

  • Other government department, agencies or arm’s-length bodies, such as the Ministry of Justice, when we require staff from these organisations to support us in our work.
  • Transcription companies who we may work with to type up recorded interviews.


Details of transfers to third country and safeguards
The OVC does not transfer personal information overseas.


Retention period for information collected
Your personal data will be destroyed or anonymised within six months after publication of the research.

An exception to this is that OVC, alongside other government departments, agencies and public-sector bodies, has been instructed by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) to retain any and all documents; correspondence; notes; emails and all other information which contain or may contain content pertaining directly or indirectly to the sexual abuse of children or to child protection and care. For the purposes of this instruction, the word “children” relates to any person under the age of 18 years.


Access to personal information
You can find out if we hold any personal data about you by making a ‘subject access request’. See more information on making a subject access by emailing: victims.commissioner@victimscommissioner.org.uk


When we ask you for personal data
We promise to inform you why we need your personal data and ask only for the personal data we need and not collect information that is irrelevant or excessive;

  • You can withdraw consent at any time, where relevant;
  • You can lodge a complaint with the supervisory authority;
  • Protect it and make sure no unauthorised person has access to it;
  • Only where appropriate and necessary share it with other organisations for legitimate purposes;
  • Make sure we don’t keep it longer than is necessary;
  • Not make your personal data available for commercial use without your consent; and
  • Consider your request to correct, stop processing or erase your personal data.


You can get more details on:

  • Agreements we have with other organisations for sharing information;
  • Circumstances where we can pass on personal information without telling you, for example, to help with the prevention or detection of crime or to produce anonymised statistics;
  • Our instructions to staff on how to collect, use or delete your personal information;
  • How we check that the information we hold is accurate and up-to-date;
  • How to make a complaint; and
  • How to contact the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner’s Data Protection Officer.


For more information about the above issues, please contact us:

Katharine Porter
5th floor Clive House, 70 Petty France, London, SW1H 9EX

For more information on how and why your information is processed please see the information provided when you accessed our services or were contacted by us.


When we ask you for information, we will keep to the law. If you consider that your information has been handled incorrectly, you can contact the Information Commissioner for independent advice about data protection. You can contact the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Tel: 0303 123 1113