To view the HTML version of the pamphlet, please click on the drop down boxes below. Each box aligns with the different chapters in the pdf version:
Victims are at the heart of my Police & Crime Plan and will be throughout my time as PCC. The Criminal Justice System has a specific process for victims and there is information out there about it, however I have decided to create this Victim Voice Initiative to collate the information in one place, and to raise awareness about victims' rights.
If you would like to do more to support victims, this will help you understand the process as well as providing you with other useful victim support service contacts.
Victims have repeatedly told me they feel their voice is not heard and they feel reporting a crime does not lead to appropriate action by the criminal justice system.
Victim satisfaction levels in my 2022 Annual Policing Survey showed almost half of respondents - who experienced a crime and reported it to police - were dissatisfied with Kent Police. My Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) survey evidenced only 37% of VAWG victims had reported the crime they experienced.
I want people to feel confident that when they report crime, they get the information and support they deserve, and are legally entitled to.
Matthew Scott, PCC
The PCC commissions dedicated local victim support services, that you can access to help you cope and recover, if you become a victim of crime.
The PCC is elected to represent your views on policing and crime locally. Directly accountable to you, the public.
After consulting local people, he publishes a Police & Crime Plan to identify local priorities and how they plan to meet them.
He works with local and national policing and criminal justice partners, to reduce crime and help make communities safer.
Matthew Scott sets the police budget and decides how that funding is spent.
He funds crime prevention services to address issues such as drug and alcohol misuse, youth crime and antisocial behaviour.
The PCC works with local authorities, businesses, health, education, and the voluntary sector to create a joined-up response to local problems.
He appoints the Chief Constable of Kent Police and holds them to account to deliver an efficient and effective service.
To understand victims' rights and the Victims' Code
To know how to report crime and antisocial behaviour
To know how to challenge if a victim is unhappy with the service/outcome
To know about other options which can help victims
To know about other services and safe spaces people can access
How to amplify Victim Voice?
Make your pledge: Tell us one thing you are going to do now you've watched this presentation.
Support a friend or colleague: When someone talks to you about their experiences, what should have been done differently?
Share the booklet: Copies of the booklet will be available for distribution.
Follow us for updates:
Go to the Victim Voice page on our website for updates.
The Ministry of Justice revised the Victims' Code in 2021. It is a statutory Government document. Its main points are below.
If you are a victim of a crime that took place in England or Wales, the Victims’ Code gives you the right to information and support from criminal justice organisations such as the police and the courts.
You also have the right to be referred to support services for victims.
You don’t need to report the crime to the police to get help from these organisations.
You can call these organisations yourself and tell them what has happened.
You also have the right to support if you are a close relative of somebody who has been killed as a result of a crime, or if you are a parent or carer of a victim of crime aged under 18.
Report to your nearest front counter. To find your nearest one, type your postcode into the search bar via Contact us | Kent Police
You can call Crimestoppers anonymously via 0800 555 111
Nuissance or environmental issues will be the responsibility of your local council.
what3words is an app that defines your exact location, using a square made up of a unique combination of 3 words. Use these words to let Kent Police know where you are in the county because Kent Police staff who take your emergency calls use this.
Victims can report a crime to the police by visiting a police station, by phone or online. The police should give them information about what to expect from the criminal justice system after reporting the crime.
If a support service for victims is already helping them, the victim can talk to the counsellors about whether they want to report the crime to the police.
The police may ask them to make a witness statement explaining what happened during the incident.
Before a victim makes a witness statement the police must assess their needs to see whether they would benefit from additional support. The witness statement will outline the details of the crime (including where and when it took place and what they saw).
Sometimes witness statements can be videoed instead of being written down. The police should discuss this with the victim.
They can also make a Victim Personal Statement, which will be given to the court to explain in the victim's own words how the crime has affected them.
The police should tell the victim what will happen next, when to expect updates, carry out a needs assessment and refer them to victim services.
They should also be offered the chance to write a Victim Personal Statement and be given an opportunity to access Restorative Justice.
The police should give them a crime reference number, a written confirmation of their report and the investigator’s contact details.
The police have to tell the victim (within 5 days) if someone is arrested/charged, set free or released/is under investigation or is given a warning, is reprimanded or issued with a fixed penalty. For even more serious offences this is as soon as within 1 day.
If there is enough evidence, it will be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service. They must tell the victim if it won’t go any further.
Out of court disposals
The police or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) may decide to deal with the case without taking it to court. This is called an out of court disposal (for example a caution).
The police or CPS will make the final decision after considering the full circumstances but must tell the victim the reasons for their decision.
Keeping the victim informed
The police should inform the victim as progress is made in the investigation and let them know if any arrests are made and if suspects are charged.
The police will ask how often the victim would like to hear from them during the investigation and how they would like to be contacted (e.g. by phone, email or text).
Getting help from support services
A crime does not need to be reported to the police for a victim to access help from specialist support services.
If they do report the crime, the police can pass their details on to a support service that can provide practical and emotional support tailored to the victim's needs. This can include specialist support for children, for victims of sexual offences, or victims of domestic abuse.
If they do not want to be referred to specialist services, the victim can request that.
If their details are passed on, someone from a support service for victims will get in touch.
If the police decide not to investigate the case, they must tell the victim and explain why.
The victim will be referred to the local Victim & Witness Care Unit. This service will tell the victim when and where the trial will be.
The Victim & Witness Care Unit will also support them before and during the trial and if they are being asked to give evidence.
The Victim & Witness Care Unit also must inform the victim:
Of the time, date and location of any hearing.
The outcome of any hearing within 5 working days of the VWCU receiving the information from the courts (1 day in enhanced cases).NB: the VWCU must be informed the outcome by the courts within 5 working days of the hearing.
If the suspect pleads not guilty and the victim is required to attend court, they have the right to be informed of this within 1 working day of the Victim & Witness Care Unit receiving notification from the Crown Prosecution Service.
The victim has the right to make a Victim Personal Statement to explain in their own words how a crime has affected them, whether physically, emotionally, financially or in any other way.
This is different from a witness statement. The Victim Personal Statement is considered by the judge or magistrate when determining what sentence the defendant should receive.
If the defendant is found guilty, the victim may be able to read their Victim Personal Statement to them.
After the trial ends, the Victim & Witness Care Officer must tell the victim:
The verdict - within 24 hours of having received it from the court who have 5 days (or 1 day for enhanced rights) to pass on the information.
What sentence the offender receives if they’re found guilty.
If the offender appeals their conviction or sentence.
Being a witness
Avictim/witness of the crime who is appearing in court as a witness has the right to:
Where circumstances permit, meet the prosecutor who is presenting the case in court, who will explain what to expect and answer any questions the victim may have.
Wait in an area away from the suspect and the suspect's family and friends.
Have any special measures* in place if the court has ordered them.
Be introduced to a member of court staff (or witness support services) who will answer your questions about what is happening in the case during the trial.
Depending on the circumstances, the victim/witness may be eligible for special measures during the trial. This is to help them present evidence in court.
Special measures could include:
Giving evidence and being cross-examined by the defence lawyer earlier in the court process using video as evidence, so the victim does not have to attend the trial at all.
Having an intermediary to help them to understand questions when being interviewed and at the trial.
*The Court will make the final decision if measures are granted.
Make a complaint
If a victim is not happy with the service they have received, or they’re unhappy with the conduct of an officer or member of police staff, they can make a complaint.
After the crime has taken place, the victim may want to ask the offender questions about what happened, or let them know how they have been affected, or suggest ways in which the offender can make amends.
They may be able to do this through a process called Restorative Justice. If the offender is an adult and restorative justice is available in your local area, the police or support service for victims will inform them about how they can take part.
Both the victim and the offender need to agree for the contact to take place.
If the victim (or others with the victim’s consent) have reported the same type of incident occurring in the same area 3 times or more, within a 6-month period, they can activate the Community Trigger (also known as ASB Case Review). They can do this through their local council's website.
If there is sufficient evidence of persistent antisocial behaviour, a Review Panel can look at the case and decide whether further action should be taken.
They can only do this if no other agencies are dealing with the matter at the time.
Under this scheme, an individual or relevant third party (for example, a family member) can ask the police to check whether a current or ex-partner has a violent or abusive past. This is the “Right to Ask”. If records show that an individual may be at risk of domestic abuse from a partner or ex-partner, the police will consider disclosing the information.
This means police have a duty to take into account the views of victims before releasing someone on bail. Police could be encouraged to use pre-charge bail instead of releasing suspects under investigation, where it is necessary and proportionate.
Kay's Law was introduced in Oct 2022 as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act.
There are a number of protective orders that can help victims of crime.
Ask the police, or the victim's support worker or legal adviser whether a domestic violence protection order, stalking protection order or non-molestation order might be appropriate in the circumstances.
The courts and/or the police may be involved in the decision to grant these orders.
All around Kent and Medway partners work together to provide "safe spaces" where people who feel vulnerable can go to seek help. Please research your local area to find out where these are.
There are also apps and "code words" in use across Kent and Medway, which people feeling vulnerable can use to seek help.
See Ask for Angela/ Ask for Ani/ HollyGuard and local Safer Street walking home apps.
The PCC's office commissions many services to help victims. These are just some of the support services we fund.