If the offender is sentenced to 12 months or more in prison (or kept in hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983) you’ll get a letter from the National Probation Service (NPS) asking if you want to join the Victim Contact Scheme.
If the offence was a violent or sexual crime (and the offender was sentenced to 12 months of more) you’ll be automatically referred.
If you join you'll be given a Victim Liaison Officer who’ll let you know about any changes in the offender’s sentence, for example if they’re moved to an open prison, or how and when they’ll be released.
If you have concerns about what might happen when someone is released from prison they can discuss protection options, including preventing the offender from contacting you or your family, restraining orders or conditions of their licence of release if they have remaining time on their sentence.
You won't be told where the offender is being held.
The Victim Contact Scheme can also speak for you at the offender’s Parole Board hearing. They can give your feedback on any ‘licence conditions’, the rules the offender must follow if and when they’re released on parole, for example not contacting you and your family.
If you decide not to join the VCS when you’re asked about it but later change your mind, or if you’ve not been asked but think you want to join, you can email the Victim Contact Scheme.
If you think your rights as a victim or witness haven’t been met
You can complain if you're not happy with a service or can't get a service you need. You can complain directly to the service (eg make a complaint to the police or the CPS).