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COPFS

Victims

Victim Information and Advice (VIA) service

Domestic abuse

Sexual crime

 

Victim Information and Advice (VIA) service

COPFS Victim Information and Advice (VIA) service, which has offices around the country, offers help to child victims and victims of crime in cases of domestic abuse, hate crime, sexual crime or where it is likely that a trial will involve a jury.

VIA staff can help by:

  • Providing information about the criminal justice system
  • Assisting in a case where a victim appears to be vulnerable for any reason, or where the prosecutor believes the victim will benefit from VIA involvement
  • Keeping you up-to-date on key developments in the case that affects you – such as, dates of hearings, decisions about bail, verdicts and sentences – or why no proceedings are taken
  • Helping you get in touch with organisations that can offer practical and emotional support
  • Discussing any additional support that might help you, for example, if you have to give evidence
    With your consent, helping arrange a visit to court so that you know what to expect if the case goes to trial and you are to give evidence
  • Providing information to you if you are the next of kin in a death enquiry.

During a trial, we can also help victims by telling the judge about the impact of the crime on you and any injury, loss or damage you have suffered, which could result in payment of compensation. In some cases, we can help you prepare a victim statement or ask for your views if the judge is considering making a non-harassment order, which protects you from behaviour you find alarming or distressing.

VIA staff are not prosecutors and cannot decide or influence what happens in a prosecution. The VIA service is optional. 

Contact us if you require further information.

For further information and on-line leaflets please visit our Publications page.


Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is a priority area of work for COPFS due to the seriousness of the crime and the impact it has on victims and children.

Prosecutors define domestic abuse as: "Any form of physical, sexual or mental and emotional abuse which might amount to criminal conduct and which takes place within the context of a relationship. The relationship will be between partners (married, cohabiting, civil partnership or otherwise) or ex-partners. The abuse can be committed in the home or elsewhere.”

From the time a case of domestic abuse is reported to the procurator fiscal, we take steps to provide a service that safeguards victims. All cases of domestic abuse and cases with child witnesses are referred to the VIA service.

The accused could be kept in prison until the trial or released on bail. Prosecutors may apply to the court for special conditions of bail to be imposed where bail is granted. such as not approaching or contacting you.

You may have to go to court to give evidence if there is a trial. You may be entitled to assistance when giving evidence. VIA staff will be able to advise on what support is available.  Your address will not be read out in court, unless it has been referred to because it is where the crime took place.

Contact us if you require further information.

For further information and on-line leaflets please visit our Publications page.


Sexual crime

Sexual crimes often have a devastating impact on victims. The COPFS National Sexual Crime Unit prosecutes the most serious sexual offences, including rape, child sexual abuse and sexually motivated murder. Sexual crimes may also involve historical abuse. Our highly experienced, expert prosecutors have the skills to deal with the significant challenges and complexities of all sexual crime cases. Victims should have the confidence to report sexual crimes and know that their cases will be handled sensitively.

If someone is charged, you may be worried about going to court to give evidence and also what questions you might be asked. VIA staff will be able to advise on what support is available. Where possible, your privacy will be respected during a trial and you should not be identified in the media.

Contact us if you require further information.
 

For further information and on-line leaflets please visit our Publications page.