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Illustration of a group of people accompanied with text 'The Victims' Code updated 1st April, 2021

New rights for victims of crime introduced

by Alison Cornmell

From today, Thursday 1st April 2021, an updated Victims’ Code comes into effect, introducing 12 rights for victims of crime and setting out the services and standards that must be provided to victims by the police and other criminal justice agencies.

The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime, more commonly known as the Victims’ Code, is published by the Ministry of Justice and it’s applicable from the moment a crime is reported to the end of a trial in court.

Merseyside Police has welcomed the changes to the Victims’ Code and the force has made it clear that it is committed to ensuring victims of crime are fully supported and kept informed at all stages of a case.

The force has introduced contact cards and information leaflets which will be given to victims when a police officer first attends the report of a crime. The new cards allow officers to provide a reference number and a clear point of contact for enquiries about the case.

The new leaflet includes an overview of the next steps following the crime being reported, plus information about the victim’s rights, compensation, the Right to Review scheme, the role of the Witness Care Unit and how support services can be accessed via Victim Care Merseyside.

Victim Care Merseyside is a dedicated support resource for victims of crime. The website has a comprehensive directory of services available to victims throughout Merseyside, enabling them to easily find specialist support in their local area that can help them cope and recover from the aftereffects of a crime.

Remember, if you report a crime, the police will discuss what support you may require. Be open and honest – the sooner they understand your needs as both a victim and potential witness, the sooner they can put the right support in place or refer you to an organisation that can assist.

You can find more details about your rights under the Victims’ Code and read the full Victims’ Code document, published by the Ministry of Justice by visiting:  www.gov.uk or https://www.victimcaremerseyside.org/my-rights/the-victims-code