After a trial

Keeping victims informed

After the trial, the Witness Care Unit will contact you to let you know the outcome; if the suspect was convicted they will explain what the sentence means. If you have any questions about the sentence that the Witness Care Unit can’t answer, you can ask the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to give you more information.

The Witness Care Unit is also responsible for telling you if an application is made to appeal the sentence, giving you information about any hearing, and letting you know the outcome.

In addition to the support from the Witness Care Unit, if you’ve been a victim of a violent and sexual offence, and the offender is sentenced to 12 months or more in prison, you can receive information and advice from the National Probation Service as part of the Victim Contact Scheme.

If you join the Victim Contact Scheme, delivered by the National Probation Service, you’ll be assigned a Victim Liaison Officer (VLO). Your VLO will provide you with information on the offender’s sentence which could include:

  • developments during the sentence (for example if the offender is moved to an open prison)
  • how and when the offender is going to be released.

They can also discuss any concerns that you might have and help to make arrangements for your protection after someone comes out of prison. This might include steps to prevent the offender contacting you or your family, such as with a restraining order or conditions of the offenders’ licence.

If you are a victim of crime, or the relative of a victim, and you’ve had unwanted contact from a prisoner, for example by letter, text or through social media sites such as Facebook, or if you’re worried about their release from prison, contact the HM Prison and Probation Service Victims Helpline on 0300 060 6699, or email

Help and support

Many victims whose cases come to court hope that the trial will be the time when everything they’ve been through will be resolved. If the accused is found ‘not guilty’, it can be a huge disappointment for you, your family and friends.

You may have put a lot of energy into preparing for the trial and feel exhausted, or you might suddenly feel that even though the offender has been punished, you still have to deal with the after-effects of the crime.

However you react, we’ll be there to support you after the trial if you want us to.

Related links Victim Contact Scheme