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Before and at Court

This will be a long process but help and support is available

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What will be expected of me?

The Witness Care Unit will contact you and support you through the process.

Giving evidence at Court can be very difficult. It can be very stressful.

It is very important that a victim gives the best possible evidence.

A victim or witness will usually attend court in person and they will stand in the witness box to be asked questions. A victim or witness will then be asked questions by the defence lawyer. This is known as cross examination.

If you are a victim of a crime you have the right to provide a Victim Personal Statement (VPS). You will have already provided a statement in relation to the crime that was committed but the Victim Personal Statement is your opportunity to tell the Police and the Court about how the crime has made you feel, the emotional, psychological, or even financial impact on you or your family.

If an offender is charged this means that the suspect will be going to Court. As a victim you may have to attend Court to give evidence. For less serious offences the charging decision is made by the Police. For more serious offences the Crown Prosecution Service decide whether to prosecute. It is not always in the public interest to take a case to Court.

To charge a suspect with an offence the Police or the Crown Prosecution Service must decide if there is enough evidence against the suspect to provide a realistic prospect of conviction. If there is then a decision must be made as to whether it is in the public interest to prosecute.

A suspect may be cautioned with an offence. The offender must admit the offence before they can receive a caution. This is usually for low level crimes for first time offenders. The Caution remains on that person’s record and will be taken into consideration if that person offends again.

If an offender is found guilty at Court the Victim Personal Statement you provided will be considered by the Judge or the Magistrates in determining the sentence imposed.

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