Information is available through Victim Support on the above numbers or nationally on: GET HELP: 0800 VICTIM ( 0800 842 846 There is a full & comprehensive information on the website explaining an individual’s rights as a victim.
The Victims’ Rights Act 2002 (the Act) replaces the Victims of Offences Act 1987. It came into force on 18 December 2002.
The Act imposes clear obligations on specified agencies to provide information and offer assistance to victims of offences. It turns a number of directives for the treatment of victims into enforceable rights.
In summary, the Act:
expands the range of persons who are defined as victims for the purposes of the Act by including parents and guardians of child victims and close family members of those murdered or rendered incapable
provides that persons not strictly victims under the Act may have input into proceedings involving the accused/offender
mandates the provision of assistance and information to victims
encourages the holding of meetings between victims and offenders, in accordance with principles of restorative justice
prohibits the disclosure in court of the victim’s address except in particular circumstances
requires that in all cases a victim impact statement is sought, for the information of the sentencing judge
requires that victims’ views on any application for orders prohibiting the publication of the accused/offender’s name are sought
provides comprehensive rights of notification, to victims of certain offences, of the occurrence of specified (including forthcoming) events relating to the accused/offender
provides that victims of certain offences may participate in decision-making processes, such as processes for the offender’s release from prison under the Parole Act 2002 or for the deportation of the offender under the Immigration Act 1987.
Who is a ‘victim’ under the Act?
A victim is anyone who:
has had an offence committed against him or her, or
has suffered physical injury, or loss or damage to property as a result of an offence, or
is a member of the immediate family of someone who has died or who is unable to make decisions about his or her welfare because of an offence committed against him or her (for example, is incapable or unconscious), or
is a parent or legal guardian of a child or young person who is a victim, so long as the parent or guardian is not charged with, convicted of, or found guilty of the offence.
A victim may exercise his or her rights under the Act, irrespective of whether anyone is arrested, charged or convicted of the offence(s) in question.
* Please note at the time of updating this (4.11.09) that:-
The Ministry of Justice is undertaking a review of victims’ rights and access to support services. The Enhancing Victims’ Rights Review will ensure that the implementation of the Victims’ Rights Act 2002 has kept with the intent of Parliament and that victims’ rights are being met across the justice system. The Review will cover the legislative, policy, and operational issues around the implementation of the Act.