VICTIM CONTACT WORK: GUIDANCE ON VICTIM CONTACT WORK OUTSIDE ENGLAND OR WALES

PURPOSE
This circular is to provide guidance to victim liaison officers on victim contact arrangements in jurisdictions within the United Kingdom and Channel Islands but outside the jurisdiction of England and Wales, and in cases where the victim or victim’s family leave the United Kingdom.

Probation Circular
REFERENCE NO: 13/2004 ISSUE DATE: 13 February 2004 IMPLEMENTATION DATE: Immediate EXPIRY DATE: 13 February 2009 TO: Chairs of Probation Boards Chief Officers of Probation Secretaries of Probation Boards CC: Board Treasurers Regional Managers Victim Liaison Officers Supervising Officers AUTHORISED BY: Alison Foulds, Joint Acting Head of Policy Unit ATTACHED: N/A

ACTION
Chief Officers are asked to ensure that the circular is distributed to the relevant staff who should note the contents for use as guidance.

SUMMARY
This circular sets out the prevailing victim contact arrangements in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It is intended as guidance and a reference source to be used in the 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 (where they exist) adopted by each jurisdiction and provides contact points. It also provides advice on offering contact where the victim/victim’s family have left the United Kingdom but where their new location is known.

RELEVANT PREVIOUS PROBATION CIRCULARS
PC 62/2001, PC 28/2003 and PC 29/2003

CONTACT FOR ENQUIRIES
Queries about arrangements in each of the countries listed should be directed initially to the named contact for that country. NPD contacts are: 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. 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.

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

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