Government agency codes and standards

As a victim, you should expect officials such as police officers and court workers to treat you with respect and empathy and provide you with appropriate help, information and advice.

There are professional standards and guidelines produced by agencies employing these officials, to help them do this. These are useful to read if you are not sure what to expect, or you think you might want to make a comment or complaint about a service. The links below take you to some key documents, which will open in new tabs on other websites. 

Read more about procedures following a road death or serious injury in Brake's support guides.

For England and Wales:

The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (published 2015)
This sets out standards you should expect in your dealings with the Criminal Justice System. It explains that, if you have been bereaved by a crime, you can expect to be referred to specialist support. You should be provided with a Family Liaison Officer  (FLO) if there is a suspicion a crime has been committed, and kept informed by them about the investigation and any criminal proceedings. You can read the police standards for FLOs in their Family Liaison Officer Guidance document.

Coroner investigations - a short guide
Provides information about the coroner investigation process and sets out the standards you can expect to receive from a coroner's office and what to do if you feel those standards have not been met.

Authorised Professional Practice (APP) on investigating road deaths (published October 2013, modified October 2015)
APPs are official codes of practice developed by the College of Policing, that all police usually follow. This APP states that if you are bereaved through a road crash you should be provided with Brake's support pack for bereaved families and told about our helpline. It also explains procedures for the police investigation of a road death and life-changing serious injuries.

Authorised Professional Practice (APP) on working with victims and witnesses (published October 2013, modified November 2016)
This APP sets out the police code of practice for family liaison.

Witness Charter (published 2013)
This document provides details of the standards you should expect from officials if you are required to be a witness in a criminal investigation.

Crown Prosecution Service’s Code for Crown Prosecutors (published 2013)
This document explains the standards you should expect from the Crown Prosecution Service, the agency responsible for prosecuting criminal cases.

The Human Tissue Act 2004
This document explains the law on organ and tissue retention.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidelines on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (published
This document advises health professionals to assess and offer appropriate treatments to people affected by horrendous events such as death or serious injury on the road. You may wish to take this document with you if you are going to talk to your doctor about help available from the NHS.

For Scotland:

The Victims’ Code for Scotland (published 2015)
The Victims’ Code for Scotland provides victims of crime with a guide to their rights. It also signposts victims to sources of further help and support.

Access to Information Protocol – A guide for victims and witnesses (published 2015)
The Victim and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 was created to improve the experience of victims and witnesses within the criminal justice system. One of its key provisions is that victims and witnesses have a legal right to request certain information about their case. This protocol summarises what information can be requested, who can request it, and how and where requests should be made.

Making a Victim Statement (published 2014)
This booklet explains what a victim statement is, who can make one, when and how victim statements can be made, what you can include in your victim statement, and how your victim statement will be used.

Road Death Investigation Manual (published 2015)
This manual, issued by Police Scotland, is aimed at police officers involved in fatal crash investigations, and outlines best practice procedures for Family Liaison Officers or other officers who are supporting families bereaved by road crashes.

Road Safety and Road Crime Strategy 2015-18
Police Scotland's three-year strategy on road safety and road crime discusses what is being done by the police to influence road user behaviour and make roads safer for the wellbeing of all Scotland’s road users.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service’s Prosecution Code
This document explains the various factors that influence the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service when they are deciding whether or not to prosecute a person who has committed a criminal offence.

The Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006
This document explains the law on organ and tissue retention.

For Northern Ireland:

Victim Charter: A charter for victims of crime (published 2015)

Coroners Service Charter (published 2012) 

The Human Tissue Act 2004  

Code for Prosecutors (published 2016)
This code explains how the Public Prosecution Service makes decisions on whether or not to prosecute a person who has committed a criminal offence, and outlines the standards to which prosecutors are expected to adhere.

Road Traffic Policy (listing criminal charges)  

Victim and Witness Policy (April 2012)