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The trial

The trial is an ordeal for most victims, but careful preparation can help.

Your entitlements

You are entitled to:

  • read your victim personal statement (VPS) aloud or have it read aloud on your behalf, subject to the views of the court, if a defendant is found guilty

The police are responsible for informing you about your right to make a Victim Personal Statement (VPS). The CPS are responsible for notifying the court if you want to read it aloud or to have it read on your behalf.

Your entitlements are explained in detail in the Victims’ Code

Our advice

A trial can be really hard for victims. Preparing in a practical way, and being aware of some of the frustrating things that can happen might help to reduce the stress.

You can bring your own food

We always recommend bringing food and drink as the days can be long. And if the offender and their family are in the canteen, it might not feel a comfortable place to be.

You must give evidence before you watch the trial

If you’re giving evidence you’ll have to do this before you’re allowed to observe the trial. This can be frustrating when wanting to support other family members who are giving evidence, but there is nothing that can be done.

Sentencing can be delayed

If someone is convicted, sentencing can be delayed until reports are prepared. If you want to be present for sentencing, it’s important to tell the Witness Care Unit.

Prosecutor’s Pledge

Wherever there is an identifiable victim, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) must follow their Prosecutors’ Pledge. This sets out how the CPS will treat victims during a trial.

Guidance on the trial

The victim information site gives more detailed information about:

  • giving your evidence
  • preparing for the verdict
  • claiming expenses