Read our separate cookie policy to find out how we collect data to improve our website.

The Office of the Victims’ Commissioner is referred to as OVC throughout this policy.

Purpose of this policy

This policy explains:

  • the standards that you can expect when we request, hold or share your information about you (‘personal data’)
  • how you can get access to a copy of your personal data
  • what you can do if you think the standards are not being met

The OVC collects your personal data to support the Victims’ Commissioner in carrying out their 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 the treatment of victims and witnesses
  • keep under review the operation of the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime

Find out more about the role of the Victims’ Commissioner.

About personal information

Personal data is information about you as an individual. It can be your name, address, email address or telephone number. It can also include information relating to crimes committed against you.

We only process personal data that is relevant for the services we are providing to you. This may include information relating to a crime committed against you, or someone you are corresponding with the OVC on behalf of, or from a criminal justice agency that you have highlighted to us as being involved in your case. Or we might just take some basic information so that we can add you to our newsletter email list.

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.

When we ask you for personal data

We promise to inform you why we need your personal data. We ask only for the personal data we need and do not collect information that is irrelevant or excessive. This means:

  • you can withdraw consent at any time, where relevant
  • you can lodge a complaint with the supervisory authority
  • we protect your data and make sure no unauthorised person has access to it
  • we only share information with other organisations where appropriate and necessary
  • we make sure we don’t keep your data longer than necessary
  • we will never make your personal data available for commercial use without your consent
  • we will always consider your request to correct, stop processing or erase your personal data

Contact us

Contact us if you have questions about:

  • 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 contact the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner’s Data Protection Officer

Freedom of information requests

You have the right to ask us what information we hold about you. This is sometimes known as a ‘freedom of information (FOI) request’ or a ‘subject access request’.

Find out more making a request and contact us if you if you want to make one.

Complaints

If you consider that your information has been handled incorrectly, you can contact the Information Commissioner for independent advice about data protection.

Updates to this policy

We reserve the right to make changes to this Privacy Notice. Where possible, we will notify you of any changes by email.

Research, correspondence and newsletters

In the following sections you can find specific information about how we handle data in relation to research, correspondence, and so that we can provide our email newsletter.

Research

We conduct a range of research projects as part of our role to support the Victims’ Commissioner in reviewing the 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 here. Please note that this information will only be collected when it is relevant to the research review you are taking part in:

  • your name and contact details (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

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.

SmartSurvey

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 to collect and store your survey response on our behalf. This may be processed and stored by SmartSurvey within the European Economic Area (EEA). 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.

Who 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.

The OVC does not transfer personal information overseas other than where SmartSurvey may process and store survey responses within the EEA.

How long we keep your data

Your personal data will be destroyed or anonymised within 6 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.

More information

Contact us if you need more information about:

  • 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 contact the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner’s Data Protection Officer
Correspondence

The OVC collects personal data to answer correspondence queries you ask of us.

Using your data

We only process personal data that is relevant for the services we are providing to you. This may include information relating to the crime committed against you, or someone you are corresponding with the OVC on behalf of or, from a criminal justice agency that you have highlighted to us as being involved in your case. We will safeguard your personal data and will only disclose it where it is lawful to do so, or with your consent.

Who information may be shared with

We sometimes need to share the personal information we process with the individual themselves and also with other organisations. Where this is necessary we will comply with all aspects of the data protection laws. We only share your information with the organisation, or organisations relevant to your query.

These organisations are:

  • Organisations that provide services under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (in accordance with the Code’s introduction and chapters 1 to 4):
    • The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC)
    • The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)
    • The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
    • The First-tier Tribunal (Criminal Injuries Compensation)
    • Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunals Service (HMCTS)
    • Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS)
    • The Parole Board
    • Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs)
    • All police forces in England and Wales, the British Transport Police and the Ministry of Defence Police
    • The UK Supreme Court
    • Witness Care Units
    • Youth Offending Teams
  • Organisations that provide services under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (in accordance with chapter 5 of the Code only):
    • The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
    • The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
    • The Environment Agency
    • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
    • The Gambling Commission
    • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
    • Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
    • Home Office (Immigration Enforcement)
    • The Information Commissioner’s Office
    • The Independent Police Complaints Commission
    • The National Crime Agency
    • Natural Resources Wales
    • The Office of Rail and Road
    • The Serious Fraud Office
  • Other organisations:
    • The Department for Health and Social Care

The OVC does not transfer personal information overseas.

How long we keep your data

Information collected through correspondence is destroyed by the OVC 5 years after the correspondence is closed.

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.

More information

Contact us if you need more information about:

  • 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
  • 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
  • how to contact the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner’s Data Protection Officer
Newsletter

We only process personal data that is relevant to sending you our newsletter – VC News – such as your name and email address, and where appropriate, the organisation you work for and your role within that organisation.

Using your data

We collect the information you provide and store it securely within our own organisation. It will only be processed by members of the OVC for the purposes of sending out the newsletter.

Who information may be shared with

We will not share your information with third parties, and the OVC does not transfer personal information overseas.

How long we keep your data

You can unsubscribe from our newsletter mailing list at any time. If you request to be removed from the mailing list, the personal data we hold for you will be deleted within 1 month from receiving your email. If the newsletter stops circulation, your personal data will be deleted within 6 months after the circulation ends.