Victim Personal Statement

Anyone who has been a victim of crime in London and has made a statement to the police also has the opportunity to make a Victim Personal Statement, in which they can explain how they have been affected by the crime, such as emotionally, physically, psychologically or financially.

This personal statement then becomes part of the case papers and is seen by the police, defence lawyers, magistrates and judges at court. CPS London takes into account what the victim has said when we make decisions on the case and ensure that, where appropriate, the court is aware of the contents. We can do this by reading the statement out in court. The statement can better help the court with understanding the impact that the crime has had on the victim and in some circumstances can be considered in sentencing.

Children or vulnerable adults can give permission for their parent or carer to make this statement for them. For more information on Victim Personal Statements click here.

Going to court

CourtWe work very closely with our criminal justice partners to ensure a better experience for victims and witnesses at court. We recognise for most this is a completely new and often daunting experience.

If you have given a statement to the police about a crime in London and are asked to give evidence at a criminal trial you will generally be required to attend one of London's courts. There are 32 criminal courts in London, nine Crown Court centres and 23 magistrates' courts (details of which London team covers which court can be found here).

The majority of cases will take place in the magistrates' courts, with a smaller percentage of the more serious cases being sent to the Crown Court. You will be informed of which court to attend and when by your police Witness Care Officer - click here for more information - who will also act as your point of contact with the CPS.

Your arrival at court

On arrival at court, and where circumstances permit, you can expect to meet with one of our prosecutors who will explain the court process and be prepared to answer questions about what will happen during the trial, but they must not discuss the evidence.

Witness Service volunteers based at the court are also available to offer help and support - click here for information on the Witness Service.

Giving evidence

When you are called to give evidence you will be shown to the witness box where you will be asked to either affirm or take the oath on your religious book. If you are a witness you will be asked questions by a representative of the CPS first followed by questions from the defence in cross examination.

You may also be asked questions by a magistrate, the clerk or the judge. In the Crown Court the jury can write down questions for the judge to read out.

Once you have given your evidence, the court will tell you that you may leave the witness box. You may be told that you are released, this means that you can leave. You may be asked to stay after you have given evidence if something new comes up. You can stay and listen to the rest of the case if you want to.

Next Page: Police Witness Care Units and the Witness Service