Guide

After a crime: your rights

Last updated: 7 August 2017

Standards of service for victims and witnesses

Victims and witnesses are entitled to a certain level of support and information from the organisations they deal with in the criminal justice system.

This is set out in the Standards of Service, a document that explains what you can expect at each stage of the criminal justice process and who you can ask for help and advice.

The Standards of Service are based on the main principles of the Victims and Witnesses Act (Scotland) 2014, and the EU Victims' Directive.

Your rights are different depending on whether or not a crime is reported. The rights of victims and witnesses of reported crime in Scotland are covered by the Victims and Witnesses Act (Scotland) 2014. If you haven't reported the crime, or haven't decided yet, you can still get emotional support and practical information from a range of organisations.

Asking for information

Following a crime, you can ask for information about a case if:

  • you're a victim or witness
  • you've given the police a statement about a crime
  • a family member has died because of a crime
  • your child is involved in a case

What you can ask about

As a victim or witness, you have the right to ask for information about certain aspects of a case, like:

  • why the police aren't investigating the crime or why they've stopped an investigation
  • why the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service isn't taking a case to court
  • what's happening with a case in court
  • what offence a person has been charged with
  • what decision the judge or sheriff made about the case

Information you'll need to give

You may have to give proof of your identity. If you're asking for information on behalf of another person, you'll need to provide a note signed by that person giving permission.

Why you might not get information you've asked for

Sometimes it's not possible for you to get the information you asked for. This might be because:

  • the information is confidential
  • the organisation that holds the information doesn't think it's appropriate to give out the information

How to ask for information

Police Scotland

Download the application form from the Police Scotland website (scroll to the bottom of the page). You can send it by post or email.

By post
Print off the application form and send it with copies of your identification documents to:

Information Management
Police Scotland
Fettes Avenue
Edinburgh
EH4 1RB

By email
Scan your application form and identification documents and email them to IMVictimandWitnesses@scotland.pnn.police.uk

If you don't have access to a printer, visit your nearest police station and they'll print the application form for you.

Police Scotland will respond to your application within 40 days of receiving your request.

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

If you've been contacted by Victim Information and Advice (VIA) you should phone the number you've been given.

If you haven't been contacted by VIA, contact the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service on:

Email: EnquiryPoint@copfs.gsi.gov.uk
Landline: 0844 561 3000
Mobile: 01389 739 557
Find out about call charges

Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service

You'll find details relating to the calling of cases – including trials – due to call in the near future on the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service website (under 'Current Business').

If you have questions about the process or the outcome of a case, ask the court where the case is being dealt with.

For other more detailed enquiries you may need a form and further guidance.

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After a crime: your rights
Standards of service for victims and witnesses