Understanding the criminal justice system
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the criminal justice system, but information can help you feel more in control
The term 'criminal justice system' is used to describe all the different agencies and organisations that are involved in law, order, crime and punishment in England and Wales and how they work together.
Although most of us have seen the police, courts and other parts of the criminal justice system in action on TV and in films, real life can be very different. Each of the different agencies has a different job to do and if you become a victim or witness you could end up having to deal with many of them. Understanding what they all do can help you feel more in control after a crime. You are also entitled to certain standards of service from the criminal justice system. You can find out more about this in the government's Victims' Charter and Code of practice for victims of crime.
This part of our site gives an overview of some of the key parts of the criminal justice system as well as information and advice on dealing with them, whatever crime you've experienced.
Click on the links below for more information about each agency, issue or area of work:
As well as the information on this website, our trained volunteers can help guide you through the criminal justice system. Contact your local office to find out more.