Frequently Asked Questions

Help With Reporting

Do you tell the police everything we discuss?

We promise that all information you provide to us ‐ verbally or in writing ‐ will be kept confidential within the Victim Care and Advice Service. This information will not be shared externally unless you expressly instruct us to do so or unless we are required to under law.

We will take our time to establish the best way to communicate with you; for example, which email address, phone number or other contact method you want us to use. We will take any other steps that you need us to take to protect your privacy

Help With Reporting

I don’t want to report this to police, can I still get support?

Yes, you can still receive our support

Victim Support

I work Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Can I be offered support outside of these hours?

We can make arrangements to support you at a time that is convenient to you.

General

If I have been a victim of crime do I have to report that crime to the police?

You are not legally bound to report your crime to the police however, investigating crimes, catching criminals and protecting the community is the police’s main job, but they also help victims and witnesses of crime.

Even if you do not report a crime as the victim, someone who saw what happened might do, so it’s likely that you will have to talk to police after a crime.

General

Is there a cost to the service?

There is no cost, the service is free and confidential

General

A family member has been a victim of a crime and I am struggling with the impact. Can I be offered support?

Yes, the service we provide is for anybody that has been affected by a crime.

Restorative Justice

Are the agreements legally binding?

No, agreements made during RJ are not legally binding but, in some cases, reports may be submitted to the Police/courts/probation detailing the engagement of both parties and any agreements made during the process.

Your Rights

As a victim am I entitled to get support?

If you do decide to report to the police then there is a government document called the Victims Code which details the support and information you should get from criminal justice agencies. These are organisations such as the police, Crown Prosecution Service and the courts.

Your Rights

As a victim of crime can I claim compensation?

If you have been a victim of a violent offence, you may be eligible for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

To find out more, visit: www.gov.uk/claim-compensation-criminal-injury or call CICA on 0800 0149757.

If you need assistance with making a claim then we can help you with that free of any charge

Restorative Justice

At what point in the CJS can this take place?

RJ can take place at any stage of the criminal justice process including after conviction, as long as the offender has accepted responsibility (i.e. pleaded guilty) and can also form part of sentencing, especially with children and young people.

Support In Court

Can I attend the initial hearing even though I’m not required?

You can attend, although initial hearings are very short hearings and are when the Magistrates decide if the case will remain at the Magistrates Court or if it will be sent to the Crown Court.

Support In Court

Can I take someone with me?

Yes, you can take someone with you on the day for support.

Support In Court

Can I visit the court beforehand?

A visit to the court beforehand is recommended. The Witness Service will show you around the court and will do this before the trial date. We can make a referral for you to the Witness Service if this is something you require

Restorative Justice

Can this be used for any type of crime?

RJ can potentially be used for any type of crime. However, there are certain offences which can pose challenges for the restorative process, for example sexual offences, hate crime and domestic violence.

In these cases, the process will require much more thorough risk assessment and may take longer to complete.

Victim Support

Can you help me move house?

We can provide advice with regard to housing issues and where required can advocate on your behalf with housing providers.

Support In Court

Do I have to go?

Getting a witness warning means you will have to go to court on the day of the trial and give evidence if you're asked to. We are here to offer advice; support and help with any concerns you may have about giving evidence.

Restorative Justice

Do I have to take part?

No. RJ is entirely voluntary for both victim and offender and either party may discontinue with the process at any time.

General

Do you offer counselling?

The Victim Care and Advice Service is not a counselling service however following our needs assessment with you, if counselling is required then we can arrange for you to be referred to a counselling service.

Restorative Justice

Does it work?

Does it work? Government research shows that 85% of victims who take part find the process helpful. For many meeting the offender can be an important step in moving forward. Research also shows that RJ reduces reoffending by 14%. (Restorative Justice Council website)

Your Rights

How do I let the court know about the impact the crime has had on me?

Making a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) gives you a voice in the criminal justice process. The VPS lets you explain in your own words how a crime has affected you physically, emotionally, financially or in any other way.

Making a VPS is your choice. You do not have to make one if you do not want to but if you do choose to make a VPS, it can be written or recorded.

If you need help in preparing a VPS then we can help with that.

Help With Reporting

How do I make a complaint to police?

We can provide you with advice about making a complaint

Support In Court

How long will a case take to go to court?

This is different for each and every investigation and can sometimes take in excess of 12 months, the Victim Care and Advice Service can provide you with support throughout the entire Criminal Justice process, from your report of the crime to the police, to court and beyond if that is required.

Restorative Justice

How long will it take?

RJ will ordinarily take place over a number of weeks so that your practitioner(s) have the opportunity to meet with both parties a number of times to ensure you are well prepared for the process and all safeguarding needs have been met.

Victim Support

How old do I have to be to get support?

We support all ages

Victim Support

I am nervous to engage alone. Can a friend/family member attend appointments with me?

Yes, you can have someone with you if that is what you require.

Victim Support

I do not want anyone in my home address. Can I meet face to face elsewhere?

Yes, arrangements can be made to meet with you at another safe location.

Victim Support

Is there a time limit on how long after the crime I can be offered support?

There is no time limit, you can ask for our support at anytime.

Victim Support

What if the crime happened outside of the Durham and Darlington area, can I still receive support?

Yes, you can still receive support if you live in County Durham or Darlington.

Restorative Justice

What if the harmer doesn’t take responsibility?

If the offender does not accept responsibility or refuses to participate, then restorative justice cannot take place.

Your Rights

What if the police or the Crown Prosecution Service have decided to take No Further Action against a person they arrested?

Under certain circumstances you have a right to review that decision, we can help you with this if that is what you would like to do.

Restorative Justice

Why should I take part?

RJ is your opportunity to meet or communicate with the person that has harmed you and explain the full impact of the crime allowing your voice to be heard. The harmer will be held to account and encouraged to take responsibility and/or make amends.

Support In Court

Will I have to go to court?

You may be required to go to court, we can help you if you are required to do so.

Restorative Justice

Will I have to see the other person?

Not if you don’t want to. We will be led by you and what you are comfortable with. Communication can take a number of forms from letter writing to virtual meetings to face to face conferences.

Support In Court

Will I have to see the other person?

The court may be able to take extra steps to protect you if you:

  • are under 18
  • have a mental or physical disability
  • are afraid to give evidence
  • are likely to go through suffering in giving evidence, because the nature of the crime or case is extremely distressing.
  • are a victim of a sexual offence
  • have been a victim of crime repeatedly - for example you’re being harassed or stalked
  • are a victim of other serious crimes, such as domestic violence or attempted murder

Help With Reporting

Will my personal details be shared with other organisations?

We promise that all information you provide to us ‐ verbally or in writing ‐ will be kept confidential within the Victim Care and Advice Service. This information will not be shared externally unless you expressly instruct us to do so or unless we are required to under law.

We will take our time to establish the best way to communicate with you; for example, which email address, phone number or other contact method you want us to use. We will take any other steps that you need us to take to protect your privacy.

General

Will you share information about me with other services?

We promise that all information you provide to us ‐ verbally or in writing ‐ will be kept confidential within the Victim Care and Advice Service.

This information will not be shared externally unless you expressly instruct us to do so or unless we are required to under law. We will take our time to establish the best way to communicate with you; for example, which email address, phone number or other contact method you want us to use.

We will take any other steps that you need us to take to protect your privacy.

Any Questions

If you have any questions about our services please do not hesitate to contact us

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