Victims and Witnesses

Victims and WitnessesWithout the help of victims and witnesses, it can be difficult for us to achieve a successful prosecution and bring an offender to justice.

That's why the work of our Witness Care Units (WCU) is crucial.

Once someone is charged with an offence, every victim and witness is allocated a WCU officer to support and guide them through the court process. We appreciate that the process can be daunting, especially if you've never encountered the criminal justice system before.

 

Our CPS offices across the North East are home to WCUs, staffed by the CPS, the police and Victim Support.

"We want your court attendance to be as stress-free as possible and we can keep you up-to-date with news about your case in any way that is convenient. We can write, email, call or text, whatever you suggest is the best way to contact you.

Your WCU officer will:

  • update you on court dates
  • answer your questions about the criminal justice system
  • reassure you about all aspects of your court appearance if you need to give evidence
  • arrange a pre-court visit (if you would like one) so you can have a look around court before you give evidence
  • apply for special measures if you need them
  • help you arrange childcare so that you can attend court

Victims' Right to Review

There will inevitably be some circumstances when the prosecution has to make a decision to discontinue or substantially alter a charge in a case.  When this happens we will tell victims what we have done and why.  In some of the more serious cases we will offer to meet the victim to explain our decision.  Victims have the right to request a review of a decision to discontinue proceedings or offer no evidence in a case. 

Details of how to request such a review can be found on the Victims' Right to Review page on the main CPS website.  Prosecutors will comply with the timescale set out in the Victims Code when notifying victims of our decisions.

Please note that the scheme applies only in relation to qualifying decisions made on or after 5 June 2013.