During the investigation

Investigations can take a long time and, unfortunately, some crimes are never solved.

If a decision has been made to investigate your crime further, the investigating officer will be in contact with you. You should come to an agreement with them how often you want to be updated in regards to your case. Do contact them if you need to.

The outcome of the investigation

The police will let you know within 5 working days of the suspect being:

  • arrested
  • charged
  • released without charge
  • released on bail
  • given a caution, reprimand, final warning or penalty notice

You will get this information within 1 working day if you've been the victim of a serious crime, have been repeatedly targeted, or are intimidated or vulnerable, e.g. aged under 18.

If a suspect is released without charge or given a caution, reprimand, final warning or penalty notice, your case won't go to court. However, you can still get support if you need it. Use the search bar at the top to find one.

You have the right to request a review through the Victim's Right to Review Scheme if the police decide:

  • not to bring proceedings in cases where police have authority to charge
  • that the case doesn't meet the test for referring the matter for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision.

You can find more information around the Victims' Right to Review Scheme for police decisions on the Sussex Police website.

The decision to take a case to court

When the police finish their investigation and agree the case meets the threshold, they will pass the information to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to decide whether to take the case to court.

If the CPS later decide to drop or alter your case, you should be told the reasons why within 5 working days.

If you're unhappy with a decision made by the CPS you can also ask for it to be reviewed through the Victims' Right to Review Scheme. You can find more information about this for CPS decisions on the CPS website. You should normally do this with 5 days of being told the decision.

Will you have to go to court?

Your case won't go to trial if the defendant pleads guilty at their plea hearing. If the defendant pleads not guilty and you witnessed the crime, you are likely to be called to give evidence. Additional help may be available to you in court to help you give the best evidence.

Find out more about how courts work.


The police might give some information about the crime to news reporters to help with the investigation. They will normally ask your permission before they do this. If you've been the victim of a sexual offence like assault or rape, it's against the law for anyone to publish your name, photo or anything else that could identify you.

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