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VICTIM CONTACT WORK: Probation

GUIDANCE ON VICTIM CONTACT


WORK OUTSIDE ENGLAND OR
Circular
WALES REFERENCE NO:
13/2004
PURPOSE
ISSUE DATE:
This circular is to provide guidance to victim liaison officers on victim contact
arrangements in jurisdictions within the United Kingdom and Channel Islands 13 February 2004
but outside the jurisdiction of England and Wales, and in cases where the
victim or victim’s family leave the United Kingdom. IMPLEMENTATION DATE:
Immediate
ACTION
Chief Officers are asked to ensure that the circular is distributed to the EXPIRY DATE:
relevant staff who should note the contents for use as guidance. 13 February 2009

SUMMARY TO:
This circular sets out the prevailing victim contact arrangements in Scotland, Chairs of Probation Boards
Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Chief Officers of Probation
Man. It is intended as guidance and a reference source to be used in the Secretaries of Probation Boards
event that probation areas need to contact victims who move to one of these
jurisdictions from England or Wales. The circular sets out the arrangements CC:
(where they exist) adopted by each jurisdiction and provides contact points. It
Board Treasurers
also provides advice on offering contact where the victim/victim’s family have
Regional Managers
left the United Kingdom but where their new location is known.
Victim Liaison Officers
RELEVANT PREVIOUS PROBATION CIRCULARS Supervising Officers
PC 62/2001, PC 28/2003 and PC 29/2003
AUTHORISED BY:
CONTACT FOR ENQUIRIES Alison Foulds, Joint Acting Head
Queries about arrangements in each of the countries listed should be of Policy Unit
directed initially to the named contact for that country.
ATTACHED:
NPD contacts are: N/A
William Payne: 020 7217 8018 email: william.payne@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
Jo Thompson: 020 7217 8823 email: jo.thompson@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

National Probation Directorate


Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London, SW1P 2AW General Enquiries: 020 7217 0659 Fax: 020 7217 0660

Enforcement, rehabilitation and public protection


INTRODUCTION

1. Section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 sets out the National Probation Service’s statutory
duty towards victims of serious sexual and other violent offences where the offender receives a custodial sentence of
12 months or more within the jurisdiction of England and Wales. Circulars 62/2001, 28/2003 and 29/2003 provide
detailed guidance on how the duty should be carried out.

2. This circular provides guidance on making contact with victims of relevant offences which took place within the
jurisdiction of England or Wales but who move to the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland or
the Republic of Ireland subsequent to the offender being sentenced.

Obligation on the National Probation Service to contact victims who move to other jurisdictions

3. Legal advice is that the National Probation Service’s obligation under section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Court
Service’s Act 2000 is to take reasonable steps to find out whether a victim wants to make representations or receive
information. If they do, the obligation is to take reasonable steps to keep the victim informed. What reasonable steps
may amount to will depend on the facts of a particular case. However, the obligation does not automatically stop if the
victim leaves the jurisdiction (perhaps temporarily). If for example, the victim leaves England or Wales and cannot be
traced, then clearly, there would be no need to go to great lengths to try to find them. If the victim happened to move
over the border from a county in England to a county in Scotland and their address was known, it might still be
reasonable to expect the local probation board to contact them. Given the distance between the probation area and
the victim it would be reasonable to expect that contact be made in writing, by telephone or by email. Areas would not
be obliged to have a face-to-face meeting with the victim.

Non-UK residents

4. Although it does not explicitly say so, it is unlikely that the intention behind Section 69 of the Criminal Justice and
Court Services Act was to extend the duty to require contact to be made with victims who move outside the UK. This
legislation is intended to offer the victim/their family/an appropriate person support and input into the release
arrangements partly where it is envisaged that there is a risk of the offender/victim/their family having some contact.
This is unlikely to happen where the victim’s family resides overseas and legal advice is that the duties placed upon
the local probation board do not extend to relatives overseas. However, if probation areas wish to offer contact
because they consider it appropriate in the circumstances of the case, Section 69 does not prohibit contacting
overseas relatives. It would fall within the boundaries of “taking all reasonable steps” to write (providing translations
as necessary) to the relatives where a forwarding address is known, not least to ask whether they wish to make
representations and or receive relevant information.

SCOTLAND

Legislation

5. Section 16 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 created a statutory right for victims to be notified of an
offender’s release where the offender is sentenced to 4 years or more for a sexual or violent offence. It is expected
to be implemented in spring 2004. The scheme will operate on an opt-in basis where all victims will be contacted
initially and will be able to opt out at a later date if they wish.

6 The Scottish Prison Service will be responsible for informing the victim of an offender’s release. The relevant
Procurator Fiscal’s office, or where applicable, the Victim Information and Advice service (VIA) will send the victim the
initial forms, which will then be passed to the Scottish Prison Service. A non-statutory pilot scheme has been in
operation since 1997.

7. Since 2000 the Victim Information & Advice services (part of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service) has
provided information to victims. The VIA services at present are available in all 11 Procurator Fiscal areas and are
due to be extended to cover all 49 Procurator Fiscal offices during 2004.

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8. If a victim moves to or returns to Scotland, and has opted to be kept informed about the offender, it is recommended
that VLO's write to the victim direct. They may contact the local social work office, but they need to be aware that
Scotland has no cross-border obligation to co-operate with the NPS.

Contact point

Victim Support Scotland


15-23 Hardwell Close
Edinburgh
Scotland
EH8 9RX

Telephone number 0131 668 4486


Fax number 0131 662 5400
E-mail info@victimsupportsco.demon.co.uk

NORTHERN IRELAND

Legislation

9. The Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 (sections 68-70), provides for the Northern Ireland Prison Service to offer
information to victims regarding an offender sentenced to 6 months or more in custody. This scheme launched in
July 2003 is known as the victim’s information scheme. Under this scheme, victims who wish to register will be
informed of the month and year the prisoner will be released and how the release date has been calculated. They will
also be informed if temporary release is being considered and be entitled to make representations to the Prison
Service before such leave is granted.

10. Probation areas should contact the Probation Board for Northern Ireland who have an informal arrangement in place
with the NPD to contact victims on behalf of the NPS.

Contact point for victim enquires:

Cheryl Lamont, ACO responsible for victims


Probation Board for Northern Ireland Head Office
80-90 North Street
Belfast BT1 1LD
Telephone number 028 9026 2400
Fax number 028 9026 2450
E-mail: Cheryl.Lamont@pbni.org.uk

Victim Support Northern Ireland


Annsgate House
70-74 Ann Street
Belfast
Northern Ireland
BT1 4EH

Telephone number 028 9024 4039


Fax number 028 9031 3838
E-mail: info@victimsupportni.org.uk

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REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

11. There are no formal arrangements for victim contact work in the Republic of Ireland although this is currently under
review. However, the criminal justice agencies there are signed up to the Victim’s Charter published in 1999.

12. The onus is on the Gardai (Irish police force) as part of their duties to inform victims about victim support services. An
automatic referral system allows victims of serious crimes to be passed to Victim Support by the police. If the crime
caused serious trauma to a victim or their family, the Gardai will tell them if the offender is about to be released from
prison. They will also make whatever policing arrangements are necessary for victim safety.

13. An informal arrangement exists in the Republic of Ireland where information will be passed on to a victim on behalf of
England and Wales.

Contact point for victim enquires:

Sean Lowry, PPWO


Republic of Ireland Probation & Welfare Service HQ
Smithfield Chambers
Smithfield
Dublin 7
EIRE
Telephone number 00 353 1 817 3600
Fax number 00 353 1 872 2737
E-mail: SJLowry@pws.gov.ie

Victim Support Ireland


Haliday House
32 Arran Quay
Dublin 7
Ireland

Telephone number 00 353 1 878 0870


Fax number 00 353 1 878 0944
E-mail: info@victimsupport.ie

THE CHANNEL ISLANDS

JERSEY

14. There is no formal mechanism for contacting victims of sexual and other violent offences in Jersey. However, an
informal agreement exists between the Jersey Probation and After-Care Service, Social Services, Jersey Victim
Support and Jersey Prison to notify victims of sexual and serious violence offences prior to the release of the
offender. In this instance, the term 'release' also includes home leave and temporary release on electronic
monitoring.

15. While Jersey Probation Service has no formal victim contact arrangements, their staff will co-operate in passing on
information to a victim who has moved to Jersey on behalf of the National Probation Service of England and Wales.

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Contact point for victim enquires:

Brian Heath, CPO


Jersey Probation Service
PO Box 656
13-15 Don Street
St Helier
Jersey JE4 8YT
Telephone number 01534 833933
Fax number 01534 833944
E-mail: B.Heath@gov.je

Victim Support Jersey


PO Box 789
St Helier
Jersey
JE4 8ZD

Telephone number 01534 769 700


Fax number 01534 626 936
E-mail: victimsupport@jerseymail.co.uk

GUERNSEY

16. There is no statutory requirement for contacting victims of sexual and other violent offences in Guernsey. However,
Guernsey Probation Service with Guernsey Victim Support have arrangements in place to notify victims of sexual and
serious violent offences prior to the release of the offender. The term 'release' also includes home leave and
temporary release.

17. Guernsey Probation will act on behalf of England & Wales Probation to ensure that letters are passed on and contact
made as required.

Contact point for victim enquires:

Anna Guilbert, CPO


Guernsey Probation Service
Cambria House
New Street
St Peter Port
Guernsey GY1 2PQ
Telephone number 01481 724337
Fax number 01481 710545
Email: anna.guilbert@gov.gg

Victim Support Guernsey


PO Box 436
St Peter Port
Guernsey
GY1 3ZH

Telephone number 01481 713000


Fax number 01481 710024
E-mail: victimsupportgsy@cwgsy.net

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THE ISLE OF MAN

18. There are no formal arrangements in the Isle of Man concerning victim contact work. However, the Isle of Man, like
Jersey, has informal arrangements in place for victims. An agreement between the Isle of Man Probation Service,
Social Services, Isle of Man Victim Support and Isle of Man Prison means that the victims of serious sexual and other
violence offences are notified prior to the release of the offender. The term 'release' also includes home leave and
temporary release.

19. The Isle of Man will contact victims on behalf of England & Wales Probation. Matthew Creer carries out the victim
work but initial enquiries concerning victims should go through David Sellick.

Contact point for victim enquires:

Matthew Creer
David B L Sellick, CPO Victim/Offender Reparation Officer
Isle of Man Probation Service Isle of Man Probation Service
2nd/3rd Floors, Prospect House 2nd/3rd Floors, Prospect House
Prospect Hill Prospect Hill
Douglas Douglas
Isle of Man IM1 1ET Isle of Man IM1 1ET
Telephone number 01624 687323/24 Telephone number 01624 687331
Fax number 01624 621306 Fax number 01624 621306
E-mail: David.Sellick@gov.im E-mail: Matthew.Creer@gov.im

Victim Support Isle of Man


6 Albert Street
Douglas
Isle of Man
IM1 2QA

Telephone number 01624 679950


Fax number 01624 679960
E-mail: iomvictimsupport@manx.net

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