aback to top
When someone charged with a crime is found not guilty by a court.
When the defendant asks for the court’s decision to be reviewed. It may result in another hearing.
bback to top
cback to top
When you report a crime to the police, everything about that crime is then called the case.
When a person is officially accused of committing a crime.
- Civil cases
Not all incidents are considered crimes. Issues like debt, housing disputes and bankruptcy are called civil cases. You might get help from Civil Legal Advice if you qualify for legal aid.
- Criminal Justice System
The organisations that work together to keep people safe. They include the police, courts, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Ministry of Justice.
- Crown Court
This court usually deals with the most serious crimes. It normally has a jury who decides if a suspect is guilty. And a judge who decides on the sentence given. Read more about how courts work.
- Crown Prosecution Service
The CPS presents criminal cases at court after they have been investigated by the police.
dback to top
The reasons a defendant gives to deny a crime.
The person charged with a criminal offence.
eback to top
fback to top
- Family Liaison Officer
A police officer who is trained to work with the family of someone killed as the result of a crime. Their role is to inform and support you during the investigation, and get information from you that could help the police.
hback to top
- Human trafficking
This is when a person is brought to
(or moved around) a country by others and forced to do things they don’t want to do.
iback to top
- Investigating officer
The police officer in charge of your case who can keep you up to date with the investigation. You can call them on 101. When you report the crime you’ll be given a crime reference number. You’ll need this number to be put through to the right person.
When the police take witness statements and gather evidence to try and establish the facts of a crime and charge a suspect.
lback to top
- Licence conditions
When an offender is released from prison to serve the rest of their sentence in the community they are ‘on licence’. They must follow certain rules, eg staying in touch with their probation officer.
mback to top
- Magistrates’ court
This court hears most criminal cases except the most serious. Decisions are made by a district judge or 2 or 3 voluntary magistrates. There’s no jury. Read more about how courts work.
pback to top
- Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
If you’ve complained to a criminal justice organisation about the service you’ve received and are not happy with their response, the PHSO can look into it for you. You’ll need to contact your MP and ask them to forward your complaint to the PHSO.
- Parole Board
Parole Board hearings recommend whether or not a prisoner will be released into the community.
The answer the suspect gives to the court when asked if they are guilty or not guilty.
When someone serves their sentence outside of prison.
The lawyer who presents the case against the defendant.
rback to top
- Registered Intermediaries
Specialists who help vulnerable witnesses give evidence in court by explaining the questions they’re asked and communicating their answers.
When the court decides to send a suspect to prison until their case is heard.
- Restorative justice
Bringing together people affected by crime or conflict with those
responsible, to find a positive
sback to top
The punishment that a court gives an offender when they are found guilty.
- Special Measures
The extra support a court can provide to help vulnerable or intimidated witnesses give their best evidence. These measures could include putting screens around the witness box.
Someone who the police think may have committed a crime.
tback to top
Being made to feel afraid someone will hurt you.
The court hearing that works out whether someone who is accused of a crime is guilty.
uback to top
vback to top
- Victim Liaison Officer
The person who works with you if you’ve joined the
Victim Contact Scheme. They keep you updated about key stages or events in the offender’s sentence. They can also make sure your views are shared with the prison or Parole Board when release is being considered.
- Victim Personal Statement
Your chance to describe how the crime has affected you. You can ask to read it aloud in court, or have it read out for you. If an offender is considered for early release from prison you can make a new VPS for the Parole Board.
- Victims’ Code
The government document that sets out what information and support victims of crime can expect from public services like the police and courts. Different versions are available, including brochures, a video and the full code in English and Welsh.
- Victim surcharge
The money that offenders have to pay when they’re sentenced, which helps pay for victim services.
wback to top
- Witness Care Unit
The people who provide information and support to help victims and witnesses give evidence in court.
- Witness Charter
A government document which sets out how you can expect to be treated by the police if you witnessed a crime, and if you have to give evidence in court. Different versions are available, including an easy-to-read brochure as well as the full charter in English and Welsh.
- Witness Service
The people at court who provide practical and emotional support to witnesses.
- Witness statement
A written or recorded account of the
facts and details of a crime.
- Witness summons
An instruction from the court saying you must go to court to give evidence.