What we do for victims and witnesses
Our trained staff and volunteers can help you understand what will happen in a courtroom
Victim Support runs services for victims and witnesses right across England and Wales. We also work with other charities and criminal justice agencies to get extra support for those who need it. We also campaign for changes to help victims and witnesses.
Most of the help we give is by specially-trained volunteers, many of whom have first-hand experience as a victim or witness.
We have special, confidential arrangements with the criminal justice system so that if you call the police as a victim of crime, or get asked to come to court as a witness, we’ll be given your details. We’ll then get in touch and ask you if you’d like our help. It is then up to you to decide if you need our help.
But anyone can contact us for support, whether or not they’ve reported the crime. You can even call us weeks, months or years after you’ve been a victim if that’s when you need help.
Help for victims
When you first speak to us we’ll ask you some questions about what has happened and how you think you’ve been affected by the crime. If you want our support, we’ll put together a ‘helping plan’ just for you. The help we give falls into three main kinds, whether you’re a victim or a witness of crime:
We can give you support over the phone or face-to-face. We can arrange visits to your home or somewhere else that you feel safe. We’ll be there for as long as you need us and if we can’t help to sort our your problems ourselves, we can put you in touch with other sources of information and support.
Help for witnesses
Going to court as a witness can be difficult. Even though most people have seen a courtroom on television or in films, real life is quite different. That’s why we created the Witness Service - to help people prepare for what can be an unfamiliar, upsetting or even scary experience.
We have trained staff and volunteers in every criminal court in England and Wales. Their job is to give you information to help you understand what will happen in the courtroom. They can show you around beforehand so you know what to expect. They can find a safe place for you to wait. And they can sit in the courtroom while you give your evidence so you know there is a friendly face there to support you.
We can’t give your evidence for you, and we can’t influence the outcome of the trial, but we can make the process easier to deal with.
Help for young people
Young people who get caught up in crime, either as a victim or witness, need special help and support. You can find out more about how we can help young people on our special microsite 'Are you ok?'.
Help when you need it
Most of our offices are open 8am to 8pm on weekdays. You can also get help over the phone from our Victim Supportline on 0845 30 30 900. The Supportline is open 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm at weekends and 9am to 5pm on Bank Holidays. You can also email the Supportline and contact them by typetalk on 18001 0845 30 30 900.