DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IN SOUTHAMPTON
The victim’s code
• Be kept informed about the progress of your case by the police
• Hear when a suspect is arrested, charged, bailed or sentenced
• Apply for extra help when giving evidence in court (called ‘special measures’) if you are vulnerable, intimidated, or a child or young person
• Apply for compensation
• Make a Victim Personal Statement to explain the impact of the crime, and to have it read out in court, with the permission of the court
• Be told when an offender will be released, if that offender has been sentenced to a year or more in prison for a violent or sexual offence
• Information about taking part in restorative justice schemes
• Be referred to victims’ support services
• Seek a review of a decision not to prosecute.
You can apply for assistance when giving evidence
Special measures can be taken for people who need extra help, or are vulnerable, when giving evidence in court. These measures can include
• Use of screens or curtains so you and the defendant cannot see each other in court
• Giving evidence via a video link
• Clearing the public gallery to give evidence in private
• Making a pre-recorded video statement
• Getting members of the court to remove gowns and wigs to look more normal, particularly relevant for children.
You are entitled to Information on the release of offenders
• If you are the victim of a violent or sexual crime and the offender in your case was sentenced to 12 months or more in prison, then you will be invited by the National Probation Service to join the Victim Contact Scheme. If you join you will be kept up to date with what is happening with the offender. That could include: important changes in their sentence, eg if they’re moved to an open prison, how and when they’ll be released You won’t be told where the offender is being held.
• The Victim Contact Scheme can also represent you at the offender’s Parole Board hearing. They can put forward your views about the rules that the offender must follow, like not contacting you and your family. These rules are called ‘licence conditions’.
How to apply for this assistance
• The CPS has dedicated Victim liaison Units that act as a dedicated point of contact for any victim of a crime, these will regularly inform victims of any updates in the case, including the decisions to stop or change the charges. VLU are also available to advise victims on how to seek a review, make a complaint, or provide feedback.
• The Police also have their own Witness Care Unit, they will provide a single witness care officer to you, who will discuss any assistance you may require in court, including the need for special measures ( See Above)
• The CPS can offer allowances and expenses to those called to give evidence. This can include travel expenses, loss of earnings and meals and refreshments. All witness expenses claims are paid within 10 working days of receipt.
How to apply for a court order.
• There are two types of injunction. Non-molestation orders prevent you from being harmed or threatened by the person who abused you, and occupation orders decide who is permitted to live in the family home, or the local area. The person named in the injunction can be arrested if they break it.
• The relevant application forms can be found through the link included above. Your address and contact details can be kept private if you want by filling in form C8, found through the link above. There is no fee for applying for an injunction.
• If you need protection immediately, ask for an emergency order when you apply. You don’t have to tell the person you want protection from that you’re applying so it’s known as a ‘without notice’ or ‘ex-parte’ application. The court will hold a hearing which you must attend. It may issue an order at the hearing. You’ll still have to tell that person about your application after the order has been issued. An emergency order will usually last until you go to the court for your hearing.
How to apply for Legal Aid
• If you or your family are at risk of abuse or serious harm you may be eligible for legal aid. The following link will allow you to check if you are eligible for legal aid.
For more information on how the criminal justice system can help visit https://www.southampton.gov.uk/images/dsa-strategy_tcm63-394493.pdf