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Victims' rights - by country

England and Wales

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England and Wales

Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice has overall lead on policy on criminal justice and victim and witness care in England and Wales

Following public consultation in 2012 the majority of emotional and practical support services for victims of crime are commissioned by democratically elected and locally accountable Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in 41 police force areas and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime in London (including for the City of London).

PCCs are best placed to understand the needs of their local communities and target funding to help victim’s cope and recover from the effects of crime. Information on services available in local areas can be found on individual PCC websites and through the Victim Information Service.

Nationally the Ministry of Justice continues to fund the provision of a number of services for victims and witnesses of crime:

Victims’ Information Service

The Victims’ Information Service comprises a web portal and a Victims’ Information Line 0808 168 9293. The Victims’ Information Line is delivered by Victim Support, a national charity, under grant funding by the Ministry of Justice.

The Victims Information Service:

  • provides victims of crime with information on their entitlements to support, and on where they can access local support arrangements. The Victims’ Information Line also provides callers with immediate emotional and practical assistance when needed, whilst focused on getting the victim to local support arrangements as quickly as possible.

National Homicide Service

The national Homicide Service is provided by the national charity Victim Support and funded by the Ministry of Justice. Originally set up in 2010, the service was re-commissioned in 2014. The new Service continues to provide support to people in England and Wales bereaved by homicide (murder and manslaughter) since 2010. This includes a range of emotional and practical support, specialist support including counselling for both adults and children, access to legal services and, for the first time, incorporates peer support.


Support line on 08 08 16 89 111

Victim Support

Note: The Ministry of Justice also helps fund a number of independent organisations who provide support for families bereaved by homicide prior to 2010. These include the specialist therapy organisations Winston’s Wish, Cruse Bereavement Care and ASSIST Trauma Care.

Court based Witness Service

The Ministry of Justice grant funds Citizens Advice, a national charity, to provide a court-based Witness Service at over 200 criminal courts in England and Wales.

The Witness Service provides free and confidential emotional and practical support and information for prosecution and defence witnesses giving evidence in criminal courts, including supporting family and friends attending court where that support is material to the effective support of the witness.


Rape Support Centres

Rape Support Centres in England and Wales provide a range of specialist services for all victims of rape or sexual violence whether as adults or as children through the Male and Female Rape Support Funds.

Rape Support Centres:

  • offer specialist support, advocacy, counselling and information to all victims of rape and sexual violence, free of charge and in confidence, in a safe and non-threatening environment (NB: some centres may restrict access to protect female-only counselling)
  • acknowledge all forms of sexual violence including; rape, sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rape in marriage, forced marriage, and so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking and sexual exploitation and ritual abuse irrespective of whether the violence is from known or unknown perpetrators

We also fund Survivors UK for a national website as part of the Male Rape Support Fund to deliver support to male victims across the country and have arranged for Safeline to pilot a telephone helpline (until March 2017) to support male victims of rape and sexual abuse.


A list of the rape support centres funded under the Female Rape Support Fund 2014-16 can be accessed at the link below (NB: this does not include the two centres in Grantham and Crawley commissioned in 2014 that have recently opened):

Rape support centres

An infographic showing where the rape support centres funded under the Male Rape Support Fund are located can be accessed here

A list of other Rape Support Centres across England and Wales can be found through the following websites:

Rapecrisis England and Wales

The Survivors Trust

A link to the new online support service provided by Survivors UK can be accessed here

Support for victims of terrorism

The Survivors’ Assistance Network

  • provides emotional and practical support including peer support to help victims of terrorist attacks address their medium to longer term support needs and increase their sense of personal safety and well-being.
  • will signpost and refer members to third parties as appropriate and as agreed as part of any support provision .


The national Homicide Service continues to provide support to people in England and Wales bereaved by homicide (murder and manslaughter), including terrorism, since 2010.

The Ministry of Justice also helps fund a number of independent organisations who provide support for families bereaved by homicide prior to 2010. These include the specialist therapy organisations Winston’s Wish, Cruse Bereavement Care and ASSIST Trauma Care.

Victim Support

  • supports statutory agencies with their criminal humanitarian assistance response in the event of a terrorist attack. Within the Humanitarian Assistance Centre Victim Support will provide an initial assessment of individual need and support, (including onward referral and signposting to other organisations) for victims referred to them.


Support for bereaved and seriously injured victims of road crime

In addition to support commissioned locally by PCCs the MoJ funds the road safety charity Brake for the provision of:

  • A specialist, Freephone helpline, 0808 8000 401 or, open 10am-4pm weekdays. Run by experienced professionals, the helpline offers emotional support, practical information, guidance on criminal justice system procedures, help overcoming problems or getting answers to questions, and help accessing services like counselling, group support or legal advice.
  • Support packs and books, handed to families by police following all road deaths and available here. They include information on practical and emotional matters following road death and injury and are available for families bereaved by crashes in England & Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, serious injury victims, and bereaved children. Information in them can be explained over the phone or they can be ordered in hard copy through the Brake helpline.
Last update: 21/09/2017

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