Support for victims and witnesses of crime
If you’ve witnessed or been the victim of crime, it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed. But help and support is available to get you back on your feet and guide you through the investigation process.
Here, you'll find the guidelines we follow to make sure we’re offering the best possible care, and where you can turn for further support.
What to expect as a victim or witness
All UK criminal justice agencies abide by the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. This is a set of guidelines designed to make sure victims of crime are given the best advice and support from the moment they report a crime to the sentencing of an offender.
Victims can expect to be:
- treated in a respectful, sensitive and professional manner without discrimination of any kind
- given appropriate support to cope and recover
- protected from being victimised again
- shown how to access information and support in future
A victim’s details remain confidential. Their address and other personal information is never made available to suspects or offenders.
We support Restorative Justice, a victim-focused approach that helps empower victims and communities.
Witnesses of crime are protected in a similar way due to a set of standards called the Witness Charter.
To find out more about how witnesses and victims of crime will be treated and other services available to them, visit the UK government’s website.
Going to court
As a witness or victim of a crime, you may be asked to give evidence in court.
We can make sure you get plenty of help and advice in the run-up to and on the day itself.
We’ll introduce you to a member of the Witness Care Unit, a team within Hampshire Constabulary.
This person will be your single point of contact throughout. They'll:
- answer any questions you might have
- give you all the information you need
- make sure you’re fully prepared
- offer support and refer you to any relevant support services
They can arrange a court visit before the day so you can familiarise yourself with the layout of the courtroom.
On the day, they can also make sure you arrive through a different entrance to the offender and wait in a separate area whenever possible.
If you’re feeling vulnerable or intimidated by the offender, or if a child or young person is giving evidence, the court may be able to provide a range of special measures, such as:
- giving evidence from behind a screen or via a video link from another room or safe location
- trained professionals, called intermediaries, who are there to help explain things
- for some locations it might be possible to be able to wait in a different area or come into court via a different door to avoid seeing the offender or people attending court on their behalf
Victim Support is a national charity dedicated to helping anyone affected by crime to cope with and recover from their experience. It offers services not only to victims and witnesses, but also to their friends and family.
If it doesn't have an office in your area, it can point you to local help.
Support if you've had a road traffic collision
Support is available for all those involved in a road traffic collision, whether or not anyone’s injured.
We understand that the time after a crash is a very traumatic experience for all involved and everyone will react differently. Some people may need little or no help, while others will need emotional and practical support to cope.
Together with the charity Victim Support we can offer support to victims and witnesses of collisions.
At a collision, we give you a copy of the Victim Support help guide (if you’ve been a collision victim or witness and don’t have your booklet, you can download it below).
The guide encourages those involved in a collision to:
- talk through what happened to help clarify the events and make sense of what happened
- drive again, as soon as possible
- accept what has happened and learn from it
- use coping techniques to deal with the impact
Victim Support referral
If you or somebody involved in a collision are struggling to cope we can refer you to Victim Support for more help.
To get your referral, please contact the officer who was at the collision (or who is your contact for any investigation).
Further advice and support
Samaritans – trained operators available 24 hours a day.
Brake – the road safety charity.
Citizens Advice – free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities.
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Witness Care Units
Hampshire Constabulary’s witness care officers provide advice and support for victims and witnesses throughout a prosecution case.
Northern Police Investigation Centre
Viables Business Park
Phone the Witness Care Unit: 0238 047 8287
Southampton Central Police Station
Phone the Witness Care Unit: 0238 047 8185
Eastern Police Investigation Centre
Airport Service Road
Phone the Witness Care Unit: 0238 047 8154
WCU.Crown@hampshire.pnn.police.uk for all Crown Court cases
WCU.Magistrates@hampshire.pnn.police.uk for all Magistrates cases