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Information for complainants, victims and witnesses


See Our remit for what we can and can’t do. If you’ve reported an issue to us and we are investigating, there are some service standards that apply, and information that you may find helpful.

We’ll keep you up to date

If you are a victim in the case (which is defined as someone having suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by the offence) we will update you on the progress of the investigation. The investigating officer should do this at a minimum interval of every four weeks, subject to any agreement with you to the contrary. They should let you know within five working days of any decision not to continue with the investigation, or not to proceed with a proposed legal action such as prosecution.

This commitment does not apply if you are not a victim, but where possible we will still keep you up to date if you have complained about the issue. However, bear in mind we may need to safeguard other people’s information.

You should be aware that when making decisions about enforcement action the service is not acting on behalf of an individual complainant. It is exercising a wider responsibility to further its primary aim of securing a fair and safe trading environment which is responsive to the needs of all consumers and businesses in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay. If you are unhappy with a decision, you may make your views known by emailing tradingstandards@devon.gov.uk or via the Devon County Council Customer Relations scheme – email customer.relations@devon.gov.uk.

Making a witness statement

You may be contacted in order to provide a witness statement. If you give a witness statement you may have to go to court to give evidence and answer questions on it. See our guide Giving a statement to Trading Standards – what happens next? to find out what this means. The guide explains what extra support may be available to help you give evidence. The Citizens Advice Witness Service has a useful video explaining how they can help.

Right to make a victim personal statement

If you are a victim (see above) and a case goes to court you have a right to make a victim personal statement to explain in your own words how a crime has affected you. It is considered when sentence is passed. See our guide Making a victim personal statement for an explanation of what this is.

Compensation

If someone is found guilty of an offence, and you are a victim of the crime, the court may be willing to consider ordering the offender to compensate you for the harm inflicted. The amount should be readily ascertainable and directly linked to the offence. A form such as the Compensation Claim Form will be used and we will help you present this claim.

Expenses

When you go to court you can claim for your expenses by using the Witness Expenses Claim form.

Property

If your property has been used as an exhibit it should normally be returned you, once applicable appeal periods have expired.

Outcomes and publicity

If you have complained about an issue, we will tell you of the outcome of any case, including any subsequent appeals. The media will usually be able to report what has gone on in court, and if you have given evidence, may mention you. We may consider issuing a media release, but will not mention you without your agreement.



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