You’ll be asked if you want to join the Victim Contact Scheme if:
you’re the victim of a violent or sexual crime
the offender is sentenced to 12 months or more in prison (or kept in hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983)
You'll get a letter from the National Probation Service (NPS) asking if you want to join the Victim Contact Scheme. If you join you'll be given a Victim Liaison Officer who’ll let you know about any changes in the offender’s sentence, for example if they’re moved to an open prison, or how and when they’ll be released.
You won't be told where the offender is being held.
The Victim Contact Scheme can also speak for you at the offender’s Parole Board hearing. They can give your feedback on any ‘licence conditions’, the rules the offender must follow if and when they’re released on parole, for example not contacting you and your family.
If you decide not to join the VCS when you’re asked about it but later change your mind, or if you’ve not been asked but think you want to join, you can email the Victim Contact Scheme.
As a victim, you may be able to take part in 'restorative justice', if the offender pleads guilty.
Restorative justice lets victims of crime tell the offender how the crime has affected them, gives the offender the chance to explain why they committed the crime and is a chance for both to talk about ways to put things right.
This can be a face to face meeting or a letter, recorded interview or video.
Restorative justice is used for any type of crime and at any stage of the criminal justice process, including if the offender is serving a prison sentence.