The Victims' Code

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman can investigate complaints in relation to the Victims' Code.

The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (the Victims' Code) places a statutory obligation on criminal justice agencies to provide a standard of service to victims of crime or, where the victim died as a result of the criminal conduct, their relatives.

Since 3 April 2006, the Parliamentary Ombudsman has had a statutory responsibility to consider complaints, referred by MPs, from those who complain that a body has not met its obligations under the Victims’ Code.

The obligations the Victims' Code places on the agencies concerned include that:

  • They provide victims, or their relatives, with information about the crime, including about arrests, prosecutions and court decisions;
  • They provide information about eligibility for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme;
  • Victims be told about Victim Support and either be referred on to them or offered their service;
  • Bereaved relatives be assigned a family liaison police officer; and
  • Victims of an offender who receives a sentence of 12 months or more after being convicted of a sexual or violent offence have the opportunity to make representations about what licence conditions or supervision requirements the offender should be subject to on release from prison.

If you are a victim of crime in England and Wales and believe a criminal justice agency has failed to provide you with the service set out in the Victims' Code, you should first put your complaint direct to the Agency concerned. If you remain unhappy after that then you should contact an MP and ask them to refer your complaint to the Ombudsman.

Once a complaint is received it will undergo an assessment process, in line with our normal casework processes, in order to decide whether or not the Ombudsman should investigate it.

If you have any questions about making a complaint under the Victims' Code, then please contact our Helpline on 0345 015 4033.