In this section:

1. What to expect as a victim or witness of a crime
2. What happens after you report a crime?
3. Victims' Right to Review scheme
4. Giving a witness or victim statement
5. Going to court
6. What happens after the trial?
7. Victim and witness support organisations

If you're the victim or witness of a crime, you may be asked to make a witness statement.

This is your written or video recorded account of what happened to you, what you saw, heard or know about the crime. An officer will ask you questions to find out exactly what happened or what you know.

We'll try to arrange a convenient time and place for you to give your statement. It could be at a police station, your home or at work.

If you have difficulty understanding or speaking English, you can ask for an interpreter. You can also ask for the translation of any documents you need to read in court or to add to your statement.

When you make a statement the officer will:

  • explain why you need to make a statement
  • ask if you need help to make the statement
  • let you read it to check that it's correct, or ask someone else to read your statement back to you
  • change anything you're not happy with
  • ask if there's any other information you want to include
  • ask you to sign your statement 
  • explain what will happen next

When you sign a witness statement you're agreeing that the statement is true. This means what you're saying in your statement is true to the best of your knowledge.

Your witness statement may be used as evidence in court.

You don't have to give a statement but you might still be asked to go to court and say what you know.

Victim Personal Statement (VPS)

If you're a victim, as well as giving a witness statement, you can also give a Victim Personal Statement (VPS). This lets you explain, in your own words, how the crime has affected you physically, emotionally, financially or in any other way.

If someone has been found guilty, the court will consider your VPS when they're deciding how to punish them for the crime.

You can make a VPS if:

  • you're giving a witness statement or evidence by video recorded interview
  • you're vulnerable (under 18 years old, have a physical or mental health disability)
  • you've been intimidated (frightened or threatened) by someone involved in the case or someone linked to someone involved in the case
  • you've been a victim of the most serious crime (rape or other sexual assault, domestic abuse, hate crime, attempted murder) or have been targeted repeatedly

If none of these apply to you, you can still ask to make a VPS.

If the defendant is found guilty, you can ask to read out your VPS in court or get someone to read it for you.

The court will consider your VPS before sentencing an offender, whether it's read out or not.

Next: Going to court