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Help for the Victims of Crime

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice took over the running of the court based Witness Service from Victim Support on 1 April 2015.

The Witness Service Improvement Programme (WSIP) has been set up to deliver a modern, consistent and resilient service that meets the needs of every witness in England and Wales.

Further information about Citizens Advice is available on the Citizens Advice Website.

After the trial

After the trial the Witness Care Unit will inform you of the outcome of your case.


People convicted by a magistrates' court can appeal to the Crown Court against their conviction and the sentence. People convicted by the Crown Court can appeal to the Court of Appeal. If these appeals are rejected they can go on to apply for permission to appeal to the House of Lords.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission is independent of both government and the courts and reviews alleged miscarriages of justice that have been through the appeal process. It can refer a case back to the Court of Appeal if there is a possibility that either a conviction or a sentence would not be upheld. Referral of a case to the Commission depends on some new argument or evidence being discovered that was not raised at the trial or appeal.

During the sentence

If you are the victim of a violent or sexual crime and the defendant/offender in your case was sentenced to 12 months or more in prison, then the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is required by law to contact you.

Under the Victim Contact Scheme, NOMS will give you general information at key stages in the offender's sentence, such as when:

  • important changes in their sentence, e.g. if they are moved to an open prison
  • how and when they will be released.

The Probation Service will be unable to give you detailed information about offenders, for example which prison the offender is in, the exact date of release or exact location of release.

The Parole Board is required to take into consideration the risk to you when considering whether it is safe to release an offender on parole. You are able to make a victim's personal statement that will be considered by the Parole Board when making its decision.