Victims of Crime                              

Working with the Victims of Crime

The victim is at the heart of both community safety and crime prevention but the relationships of the victim to the crime/crimes is complex. In English law the victim has, since at least the 12th century, had a symbolic and strictly limited role in court procedures.

It is only in the late 20th century that the victim's role were expanded to include an understanding of the actual personal issues experienced by the victim. This is significantly different from the approach taken in some other countries  - especially Muslim ones - where the victim and the victims family's needs are at the centre of both the court process and the resolution and settlement of the problems generated by the crime.

Working with victims is important in mitigating the impact of the crime:

  1. It provides access to skilled services supporting victim recovery from the incident in terms of crime prevention
  2. It offers opportunities for increased physical and emotional resilience.
The provision of holistic services has the potential to also provide practical security advice to vulnerable victims (such as older people - see Aged UK and the mentally or physically impaired) or through the provision of responsible neighbour programmes - developing programmes to engage active neighbours as the identified link to those less able in the neighbourhood.

The Strategic Management of Victim Services

Targeted protective and supportive services should be provided for the victims of crime in each local area; however it is easy for such services to either get overlooked or marginalised. An effective local Community Safety Partnership should include an audit of such services in its ongoing strategic assessment. This should be done to ensure that adequate services are being provided in an efficient and effective way - and where (for instance within a rural crime context) it is not financially viable to provide a local victim support centre it is possible to identify the need and then redirect services from being centre based to outreach based.

Victim Services

The range of victim services include Victim Support (England and Wales)   - which provides anything from a letter to the victims offering advice and guidance to intervention in the lives of victims. This is done through counselling and through witness support programmes. The VS scheme is a good example of a victim centred service but other, more specialist, services are provided; such as those for the victims of domestic violence, hate crime. Additionally these can include specialist services for those with physical or mental restrictions and imparements (see above) and those who are repeat victims.

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Victims of Crime Links

Victim Information Service

Comprehensive UK govt. online directory of victim services with links to locally provided support across the UK.

Victim Support Scotland

Offers support to victims and witnesses of crime including directory of local contacts, helpline information etc.

Victim Support Northern Ireland

Victim Support NI is a charity supporting people affected by crime. We offer a free and confidential service, whether or not a crime has been reported and regardless of how long ago the event took place. We are an independent organisation - not part of the police, courts or any other criminal justice agency

Victim Support : England and Wales   

The website describes the work of Victim Support, the national charity for people affected by crime.

International Victimology Website  

The International Victimology Website facilitates the implementation of the UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power.

Updated August 2016