The links below take you to some key documents, which will open in new tabs on other websites.
England and Wales
- The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (2023)
This government document 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.
- Victims and Witnesses: Care and Treatment (2021)
Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) guidance that explains how the interests of victims are considered when the CPS decides whether or not to take a case to court, and outlines the service's obligations to witnesses following The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. It links to guidance on Speaking to Witnesses at Court, which explains the CPS commitment to treating witnesses at court with respect and sensitivity. It also links to guidance on Special Measures that are available for vulnerable or intimidated witnesses in court.
- Guide to Coroner Services (2020)
This government document provides an explanation of the coroner investigation and inquest 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. It also provides links to other organisations that may be able to give help and advice.
- Authorised Professional Practice (APP) on investigating road deaths (published 2023)
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 2023)
Sets out the police code of practice for family liaison.
- Witness Charter (published 2013)
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 2018)
Sets out the general principles Crown Prosecutors should follow when they make decisions on cases. This guidance explains how the CPS decides if there is enough evidence to charge someone and if it is in the public interest to bring the case to court.
- Crown Prosecution Service guidance on charging (published 2020)
Explains how decisions are made about when to charge someone with a criminal offence, including the offences that the police are authorised to charge and those where the decision must be made by prosecutors. Also explains the evidence and other information required to make a charging decision and how cases should be managed and prosecuted at court.
- Crown Prosecution Service guidance on disclosure of material to third parties (published 2023)
Explains when information about a road crash may be released, for example witness statements or the names and addresses of people involved in the crash. For legal reasons, some information may not be released until after an investigation or a prosecution has happened.
- The Human Tissue Act 2004
Explains the law on organ and tissue retention.
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline NG116: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (published 2018)
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.
- Guidance on post-mortem examinations, including second post-mortem examinations (2019)
This document includes guidance on whether a second post mortem should take place after a road death. It recognises that a second post-mortem examination can be very distressing for bereaved families and recommends that, where possible, less invasive methods of examination, such as scans, should be considered if a second post-mortem is required. The guidance recommends that all requests for second post mortems should be examined very carefully.
- Standards of service for victims and witnesses (published 2021)
This document explains what you can expect at each stage of the criminal justice process and who you can ask for help and advice.
- Road Death Investigation Manual (published 2015)
Standard operating procedures for police investigating fatal road crashes and supporting bereaved families.
- The Victims’ Code for Scotland (published 2018, modified 2020)
Provides victims of crime with a guide to their rights. It also signposts victims to sources of further help and support.
- The Victims' Code for Scotland - easy read version (published 2018)
This publication for people with learning difficulties describes how victims of crime should be treated within the criminal justice system, and what information, help and support they should receive.
- Information for bereaved relatives: The role of the Procurator Fiscal in the investigation of deaths (published 2023)
This booklet has been published by the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), to help relatives understand the role of the Procurator Fiscal in certain deaths, and to explain what the Procurator Fiscal will do.
- Finding out why someone has died (published 2017)
An easy-read version that explains what the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) do when investigating a death.
- Access to Information Protocol – A guide for victims and witnesses (published 2023)
Victims and witnesses have a legal right to request certain information about their case. This document explains what information can be requested, who can request it, and how and where requests should be made.
- Access to information for victims and witnesses - easy read version
- Making a Victim Statement (published 2018)
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 traffic collisions: Standard operating procedure
This document, issued by Police Scotland, outlines the procedures to be adopted by officers attending the scene of a crash.
- 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.
- Victim rights - Return of property
Joint guidance from Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) about the return of property to victims of crime.
- What to do after a death in Scotland (published 2016)
Guidance from the Scottish government about what to do after someone dies, including planning and paying for the funeral, succession and inheritance.
- The Family Liaison Charter (published 2016)
Guidance about how the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) will liaise with a family while a death is being investigated.
- Being a Witness
Booklets from COPFS about what to expect if you are called as a witness to give evidence at a court hearing. Includes guidance for adults, children, young people and people with learning disabilities.
- Victim Charter: A charter for victims of crime (published 2015)
- Coroners Service Charter (published 2012)
- The Human Tissue Act 2004
- Code for Prosecutors (published 2023)
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) (published 2020)
- Victim and Witness Policy (published 2017)
Media outlets often sign up to codes of practice that require them to respect privacy and feelings of victims.
The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) regulates the Editors’ Code of Practice, a set of rules that newspapers or magazines who are members of IPSO must follow. To read this code and find advice about dealing with media attention, or complain if you think a journalist has broken this code, go to www.ipso.co.uk. If you feel you are being harassed by a journalist, call the IPSO helpline: 07799 903 929.
The Ofcom Broadcasting Code governs TV and radio journalists. To read this code and make a complaint if you think a journalist has broken this code, go to www.ofcom.org.uk or call 0300 123 3333
The National Road Victim Service
0808 8000 401
Brake’s free support service if you are bereaved, seriously injured, or helping a road crash victim.
Meet your named caseworker. Call 0808 8000 401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This page was reviewed in January 2024.