In your VPS, you can tell the court and the Parole Board (if it is involved), how the offence has affected you or your family but you cannot suggest a punishment for the defendant.
You can make a VPS at any time in the process and you can do so more than once if you feel that the crime’s impact on you has changed over time.
If you haven’t been offered the opportunity to make a VPS, please contact the police officer who is dealing with your case – and if you do not know who this is, please contact us.
Your VPS can be seen by everyone involved in the case, including the defendant and their lawyer(s), police, prosecution and the judge or magistrate if it goes to court.
The court and/or the defence team may question you about what you say in the VPS, to confirm or challenge certain things – and this may be reported by newspapers, broadcasters and online media.
If the defendant pleads or is found guilty you can ask to read your statement aloud or have it read out on your behalf, but the court must give permission for this.
Victims who do not write a witness statement but have been affected by serious crime, have been targeted repeatedly, are vulnerable or intimidated will also be able to make a VPS.
Special arrangements for giving your VPS can be put in place for vulnerable adults, young people under 18 or others who may need additional help with the process. Among these ‘special measures’ is the playing of a video recording in court.