Victims of crime and the Probation Service
As a victim, you may come into contact with the Probation Service.
The Probation Service prepares reports for the Courts to assist judges in determining appropriate sentences. It also prepares reports for the Parole Board. Probation Officers also work in Prisons as well as the Children Detentions Schools and Centres to address offending and related issues, and to assist in the settlement of prisoners on release.
The probation report will describe the offender, his or her family circumstances and his or her lifestyle, including whether or not he or she is an alcoholic or drug addict.
It will consider the attitude of the offender - whether he or she has accepted responsibility for his or her actions. It will discuss whether the offender is committed to improving his or her lifestyle or behaviour, for example, if he or she is serious about attending a drug treatment programme.
The probation report will discuss whether an offender is suitable for a non-prison sentence like community service. It may suggest conditions for a non-prison sentence, for example, that the offender move away from an residential area where he or she was getting into trouble.
In some circumstances the Probation Service may, at the request of the judge, prepare a victim impact report for the Court.
The probation report will help the judge decide what type of sentence to impose on the offender.
If the court decides that a non-prison sentence should be imposed, the Probation Service may supervise the offender in his or her treatment programmes and the community service he or she does.The Probation Services will supervise an offender on supervised release from custody.
The Probation Service will:
- Consider your sensitivities and trauma in the way that it goes about its work. It strongly encourages offenders to take responsibility for the hurt, damage and suffering they have caused you
- Make sure that offenders continue to address any problems with their behavior, lifestyle or attitude
- Consider your concerns and needs when preparing probation reports
- Help to prepare victim impact statements
- Make sure that any proposed community-based programmes are sensitive to your concerns and are designed to prevent re-offending
If compensation was a condition of a non-prison sentence, the Probation Service may organise that you receive it.
If your expectations from the Probation Service are not met, or you have concerns or issues to raise you can write to the Director in the Probation Service. Further information is available in the Probation Service Victims Charter (pdf).
Where to apply