The safety of victims and the avoidance of re-victimisation are central to the work of public protection and MAPPA.
The Victims Charter, places a duty on Probation to contact the victims of all offenders who have been sentenced to 12 months or longer in custody or detained in hospital, for sexual or violent offences in their Area.
The National Probation Service employ Victim Liaison Officers (VLO) to work exclusively with victims. Probation also works in partnership with Victim Support who can offer victims of serious crime support and counselling.
The VLO contacts victims of crime within eight weeks of the offender being sentenced and many are surprised and pleased to know that they DO have the right to certain information. Some want the VLO to keep in touch with them, and some choose not to have contact. Others wish to defer their decision of contact with the VLO to a later stage and as involvement is voluntary they may at any point change their mind about ongoing contact. Of those victims who do choose to have contact, many are anxious to know more about the custodial process the offender will be subject to and when the offender is likely to be released.
Information the VLO can provide includes:
– Information about the criminal justice process, the way prisons and secure hospitals operate, what the offender’s sentence means and how decisions are made about how long the offender stays in prison or hospital. This includes information on tariffs, appeals, parole eligibility, home detention curfew, release on temporary licence, death in custody and recalls.
– The victim has the right to put forward views about the conditions and restrictions that could be placed on the offender when he/she is released. Conditions may include preventing the offender from having contact with the victim and if the risk is seen as too great, placing an exclusion zone to prevent them from entering specified areas.
How to contact Victim Liaison Officers
If you have been a victim of sexual and/or violent offending where the offender was sentenced to 12 months or longer and would like more information, please contact your local probation office and ask to speak to a Victim Liaison Officer.