You have become a victim of crime. Shocked and in some cases traumatised or injured, your first point of contact is the police.
When you have been a victim of crime, you are entitled to:
- a written acknowledgement that you have reported a crime, including basic details of the offence and the crime reference number
- a clear explanation of what to expect from the criminal justice system
- an enhanced service if you are a victim of serious crime, a persistently targeted victim or a vulnerable victim (eg, under 18 or if you’re disabled) – for example, you can request to give evidence by video link or from behind a screen
- a needs assessment to help work out what support you need, such as extra home security or installing a panic button
- be referred to organisations supporting victims of crime
- be kept informed about the police investigation, such as if a suspect is arrested and charged and any bail conditions imposed
- make a victim personal statement (VPS) to explain how the crime affected you at the time and continues to affect you
The police are responsible for delivering the above requirements.
All your entitlements are explained in detail in the Victims’ Code.
Shock and trauma can make the process of reporting a crime feel like a bad dream. With lots of people giving you information and instructions, you might struggle to take it all in.
Ideally, take a friend or family member with you
As a victim it can be hard to take in everything that’s happening. A friend or family member can support you and help clarify your understanding later on.
Don’t be afraid to check your understanding
You can ask for leaflets to read when you are ready. Police will understand and should be helpful.
Contact support services for help
The police will give you contact details for specialist victim support services, which will depend on the crime and how you’re feeling. We recommend you make contact to discuss your experience and see if they can offer practical help and support.
Get the investigating officer’s contact details
The police aren’t always good at keeping you informed on what’s happening. They might only contact you if they feel they have something to tell you. This can mean weeks of not knowing what is happening, which can be unsettling. Ask for the name and contact number of the investigating officer. And don’t be afraid to contact them if you feel in the dark.
Consider making a victim personal statement
We recommend victims take up the offer of making a victim personal statement (VPS). It’s your only opportunity to tell the court and offender exactly how the crime has affected you. All too often, victims feel like bystanders in the justice system – it’s important your voice is heard.
Guidance on reporting a crime
The victim information site explains how to:
- report a crime, fraud or anti-social behaviour
- tell Crimestoppers anonymously
- give a statement
- access support services