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What is the Victim Contact Scheme?

The statutory Probation Service Victim Contact Scheme (VCS ) is offered to victims of violent and sexual offences where the offender receives a sentence of 12 months or more. The purpose of the VCS is to provide eligible victims with information and advice about the criminal justice process by a designated Victim Liaison Officer (VLO ). This includes being kept informed of key stages of the offender's sentence, at the discretion of the probation trust, such as transfer to open conditions or release, and to make representations about victim related conditions that can be attached to the offender's release licence.


If you are the victim of an offender who has committed a violent or sexual offence and received a sentence of 12 months' imprisonment or more or has been detained in a hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983, you are entitled to be notified about the VCS by your Witness Care Unit and be told that your details will be automatically referred to the probation trust within 20 working days, unless you have said you do not want them to be.


If you choose to take part in the VCS you are entitled to:

  • decide whether you want to receive information about key stages of the offender's sentence;
  • be assigned a VLO who will act as your point of contact in the probation trust unless you are a victim of an unrestricted patient;
  • receive information and make representations to the probation trust about victim-related conditions to be included on the offender's release licence or conditions of discharge in the event of release. For example, this could include a condition to prevent the offender from contacting you or your family;
  • be informed by the probation trust about any conditions which an offender is subject to on release or discharge which relate to you or your family;
  • be informed of the date on which these conditions will end;
  • be informed about any other information which the probation trust considers to be appropriate in the circumstances of the case, including about key stages of the offender's sentence, or treatment in the case of a restricted or unrestricted mental health patient.

If the offender in the case is under 18, the Youth Offending Team will refer your details to the probation trust so you can be offered an opportunity to take part in the VCS .

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