Being the victim of a crime is often traumatic, and for many this experience has been even more difficult due to the impact of Covid-19. We’ve seen inevitable delays as the justice system works through the queue of cases that have built up since March 2020.
We understand that victims and indeed witnesses have shown great strength and resilience during this very unsettling time.
We want to reassure each of you that our teams are making every effort to ensure cases are concluded as quickly and efficiently as possible.
No case or person will be forgotten about, so please continue to be patient and stay with us on this journey.
The video and information below will help answer some of the queries you may have about the status of your case, whether you are a victim or a witness to a crime.
Information for victims and witnesses
Awaiting a decision
If you are waiting for the outcome of a PPS decision on a case, or if you have requested a review of a PPS decision, our prosecutors are continuing to make decisions in cases. You will be informed when there is an outcome by our Victim and Witness Care Unit.
If the case has not reached court
For those victims whose cases are yet to reach the stage of a trial, we will endeavour to continue to provide you with updates at key points during the progress of your case.
We are working with all parts of the criminal justice system to minimise delay and make sure that your case is progressing as quickly as possible. Court business is being scaled up and we have sought additional resources to support this work.
If you are called to give evidence
If you have experienced or witnessed a crime, you might be asked to go to court to give evidence. Your VWCU case officer will contact you with more details, and to answer any queries or concerns you may have.
The Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunal Service has a dedicated section on their website about arrangements for trials during the pandemic. This includes the latest Covid-related health and safety information. You can read more by clicking the link.
You can also read the Attending Court section of our website by clicking the link.
If a trial is postponed
If you are a victim or witness in a trial which needs to be postponed, we will make every effort to contact you directly to inform you of this in advance. We understand that this may cause you distress at an already difficult time. We can assure you that we will continue to work closely with all organisations to ensure that the trial will go ahead with the minimum of delay.
Notification of a sentence
If you are a victim in a case in which you are awaiting notification of the sentence for the defendant(s), we will advise of the outcome of that hearing as and when notified by the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service.
Support for you
We work with Victim Support NI and the NSPCC's Young Witness Service, who provide emotional and practical support to people who have been affected by crime. It is important you contact Victim Support NI directly if you would like their support.
They can be contacted on 02890 243133 (Belfast) or 02871 370086 (Foyle) or on their website.
The NSPCC Young Witness Service can be contacted on 02893 441947 or on their website.
If you have any queries in the meantime, please contact your Case Officer in the Victim and Witness Care Unit on 02890 264690 (Belfast) or 02871 340632 (Foyle).
Defence practitioners should read the notice with information for contacting the PPS during the pandemic.