By: Simon B
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Victims of crime
If in the unfortunate event and you become a victim of crime then, unfortunately, the law is on the side of the perpetrators and that their views are not considered. Things are changing though, and the courts do now have a responsibility under the Human Rights Act 1998 to make sure that the rights of the victims of crime are balanced with the rights of defendants. If you’ve been the victim of a crime and you report it to the police, you should receive a crime number and a leaflet that explains your rights. In addition, your local Victim Support Scheme offers support and advice and can help you through the emotional and practical aspects of crime. You can contact them directly if you haven’t yet decided to report a crime. Call 0845 3030900 for details on your local branch.
If you’re a witness in court, you should be sent a leaflet that explains the court process. In addition, Victim Support provides a witness service in all Crown Courts to help you through the process.
You will have no say in the sentence that is handed down to the accused, but if the accused is convicted and appeals against that conviction, you have the right to be informed. If the offence was a serious sexual or violent assault, probation services also have to tell you when the defendant is released. If you’re being subjected to intimidation, you must tell the police. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 makes intimidation an offence, and several other acts, including the Family Law Act 1996, give you additional protection from harassment.