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Support for Victims of Crime

You can get free help and support as a victim of crime with quick and easy access to expert advice. This section also explains how to take part in a restorative justice scheme.

Note: The new Women's Aid 'Rail to refuge' scheme is set up to help survivors with a refuge space travel for free across England, Scotland, and Wales.

National Victims’ Information Service (VIS)

VIS signposts victims into getting the aid they need from local services, such as:

  • Advocacy services and counselling.
  • Emotional and practical support.
  • Finding a safe place to stay.
  • Finding someone to speak for you and get the help you need.
  • Specialist advice for victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse.

Note: The Victims’ Information Service offers support for crime victims with free online and telephone advice. There are some differences on emotional support and practical information as a victim or a witness of crime in Scotland.

Victim Contact Scheme (VCS)

The National Probation Service runs the Victim Contact Scheme. Joining the scheme means you will get a Victim Liaison Officer (VLO). Their main role is keeping victims up to date with important information, including:

Note: The code of practice for victims of crime and supporting public information materials explains what you have entitlement to.

Victim Support Free Supportline
Telephone: 08 08 16 89 11
Monday to Friday: 9am to 9pm
Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 7pm
UK Bank Holidays: 9am to 5pm

Note: The Government announced the availability of new courtroom protections at all Crown Courts in England and Wales. The technology (e.g. pre-recorded cross-examinations) spares vulnerable victims and witnesses the trauma of having to attend the court.

How to Join the Victim Contact Scheme

Even though it is not mandatory, joining the Victim Contact Scheme provides a special kind of support available for victims of certain types of crimes. Thus, they will invite you to opt into the scheme if:

  • You have been the victim of a violent crime or a sexual crime.
  • The offender received a prison sentence of at least twelve (12) months.

Taking Part in a Restorative Justice Scheme

Your local victim support organisation will explain how to take part in a restorative justice scheme. You can also contact your local police force or probation officer if:

  • You want to meet the offender or offenders involved in your particular crime.
  • You want to talk about how being a victim of the crime has affected your life.
  • You want to get answers to your questions and seek an apology from the offender.

Note: As the victim of a crime your rights will continue throughout the police investigation. Learn your rights as a victim of crime, your right to privacy, and how to make a personal statement.

Receiving Unwanted Contact by a Prisoner

It is not uncommon for crime victims to get unwanted telephone calls, letters, SMS texts, or other messages from someone in prison. If so, you can contact the HM Prison and Probation Service Victims Helpline (HMPPS).

HM Prison and Probation Service Victims Helpline
Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 0300 060 6699
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm
Check call charges to 0300 numbers.

Note: Are you worried about someone getting released from prison? If so, you can also contact the same HMPPS helpline for further advice.

Where to Get Support for Victims of Crime in United Kingdom