Making a Victim Personal Statement
What is a victim personal statement?
A victim personal statement gives you the chance to tell the courts about any support you might need, and how the crime has affected you (for example, the crime could have effected you physically, emotionally or financially).
What do they mean by a victim?
In relation to road traffic incidents, such as road traffic collisions, a victim for the purposes of Victim Personal Statements will include anyone who has:
- suffered serious personal injury in a road traffic collision, or
- is the parent, or carer, or partner ( including same sex partners ) of a deceased victim
- where another party is prosecuted for any offence under sections 1,2,2B,3,3A,3ZB,4,5 or 7 of the Road Traffic Act, 1988
- these offences include causing death by dangerous driving, dangerous driving, causing death by careless/inconsiderate driving, careless driving, causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs, causing death by careless driving unlicensed,disqualified or uninsured drivers and drink/drug driving offences
Serious injury: an injury for which a person
- is detained in hospital as an ‘in-patient’, or
- suffers any of the following injuries, whether or not they are detained in hospital: fractures, concussion, internal injuries, crushing, severe cuts and lacerations, or severe general shock requiring medical treatment.
Do I have to make a victim personal statement?
Making a victim personal statement isn’t compulsory – you should only make a statement if you want to. If you do not want to make a personal statement straight away, you can always ask the police to help you make one later on.
What happens if I don’t make a victim personal statement?
The case will be treated no differently whether or not you choose to make a victim personal statement.
What happens to my victim personal statement?
If you make a victim personal statement, it will become part of the case papers. This means it will be seen by everybody involved with your case (for example, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the defence, and the magistrates and judges at the courts). You can use your victim personal statement to make sure the police keep you informed about the progress of your case. The courts may use the information in your statement when deciding if a defendant should be given bail.
How does the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decide whether to prosecute somebody or not?
First the CPS has to be satisfied that there is enough evidence. If there is, the CPS will consider whether it is in the public interest to prosecute. (Broadly speaking, the more serious the alleged offence, the more likely it will be that a prosecution will be needed in the public interest. On the other hand, a prosecution is less likely to be needed if, for example, the offender has already been sentenced for another offence and a conviction for the offence against you is unlikely to result in an additional sentence). When deciding whether it is in the public interest to prosecute an offender, the CPS will consider the consequences for the victim and will take account of the views of the victim or the victim’s family.
Making a victim personal statement
Ask your family liaison officer (FLO) or the police officer involved in your case if you can make a victim personal statement.
If you are a child or a vulnerable adult, your parent or carer can make the victim personal statement on your behalf if you wish.
What sort of information can I give?
You should use the victim personal statement to give the police any information you did not include in the witness statement. You can say whatever you like in your personal statement but it will not take into account any opinion the victim expresses as how the offender, if convicted, should be punished. Sentencing is a matter of public policy and remains the prerogative of judges and magistrates. For example, you may want to say:
- if you want to be told about the progress of your case. If you have a family liaison officer this should be done automatically;
- if you would like extra support (particularly if you are appearing as a witness at a trial);
- if you feel vulnerable or intimidated;
- if you are worried about the offender being given bail (for example, if the offender knows who you are);
- how the crime has affected you if you feel racial hostility was part of the crime;
- how the crime has affected you if you feel that you were victimised because of your faith, cultural background or disability;
- if the crime has caused, or made worse, any medical or social problems (such as marital problems); or
- anything you think might be helpful or relevant.
Is there anything else I should know about when I make a victim personal statement?
When you have filled in a victim personal statement, it becomes part of the case papers. This means that, if an offender is caught and charged, the case papers have to be shown to the defendant and his or her lawyer. The defendant will see what you have said and, if the case goes to trial, you could be asked questions about the statement in court.
As a result, you should be ready to answer any questions about your statement. You could be asked about how the crime has affected you, or about any loss, injury or damage you have suffered. Once you have made a statement, you can’t withdraw it or change it. However, you can always make another statement that clears up or changes something you said in an earlier statement.
If you want to claim compensation from the offender, you may need to provide supporting details or proof. You will also have to fill in another form (known as Form MG19). The family liaison officer or police officer in charge of your case will be able to give you advice about this. You would also need to provide proof if you claimed that a medical or social problem had been made worse by the crime.
Will I get any feedback about my personal statement?
You will not get any direct feedback. However, your statement will be added to the case papers and read by all the criminal justice agencies involved with your case.