Northumbria Probation Area provides an information service for victims of a serious sexual or violent offence, where the offender has been sentenced to 12 months or more in prison.
Our victim liaison officers provide information about the offender's sentence. This means relaying information about all important developments. Particularly when an offender is due to be released from prison.
The frequency of contact is discussed and agreed with the victim. It depends on the length and complexity of the sentence and how much they would like to know.
We make sure that victims’ views and concerns are taken into consideration at key stages. If an offender is eligible for parole, the victim liaison officer may submit a written report to the parole board. The report outlines the victims' views and concerns, which may include specific additional licence condition requests, such as an exclusion area or preventing the offender from contacting the victim.
Victim liaison officers are not counsellors. But we do have strong links with Victim Support and can help people get in touch if they need to. We are also able to provide a friendly ear. We suggest different ways of coping and working through grief, and recommend exercises we know other people have found useful.
For some victims the service provided is crucial, for others it is too distressing to hear from us. If so, officers refrain from making contact, but make sure they know how to get in touch if they change their mind or want some information.