If you're a victim of a potential crime we’re investigating, we may ask you to be a witness. Find out what this means and what may happen next.First published: 05/04/2016 Last updated: 21/03/2023 See all updates
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If you’re worried that you’ve lost out due to a financial crime, please report it to us. The FCA will look into your report and let you know whether we’re able to investigate it. If we can’t help, we’ll aim to tell you who can. This could be the police or another organisation.
When we investigate financial crime, we often get in touch with victims to find out if they can give us more information.
If you're contacted by one of our investigators, they’ll ask you for some personal details, including your contact details. This is just so we can contact you during the investigation.
We always make sure that these details are kept safe and that victims are treated fairly, with dignity and respect, following the Government’s Code of Practice.
Interviews with the FCA
Once you’ve contacted us, we’ll try to speak to you as soon as possible. This will often be by phone in the first instance.
If you have important information that we may need in court, we may need to interview you at our offices or at your home. We usually record all formal interviews, so we have an accurate account of the conversation.
Most interviews will be on a voluntary basis.
But we do also have powers to compel information and documents. This means you’d have to give us the information if we asked. We often do this if the information or documents are confidential.
On the rare occasions when we need to use these powers, we’ll send you a formal notice saying so.
Giving a witness statement
If you have important information, we may ask you to make a witness statement. If we do, one of our investigators will ask you questions and put what you say into a formal statement.
This might be part of an interview, or after you’ve been interviewed.
We’ll always make sure you’re clear about the process, by:
- explaining the purpose of the witness statement
- making sure that you read and understand your draft statement
- explaining what it means when you sign the statement
Don’t be afraid to tell the investigator if you’re unhappy or want to change something in your statement.
When you sign a witness statement, you’re saying that it’s a true account of what you’ve said. You won’t be able to change it once you’ve signed it, so make sure you’re completely happy with it.
If you want to add more information to the statement later, or make something clearer, we can take another witness statement for you.
Giving evidence in court
If the case is brought to court, you may need to give evidence during a trial.
Giving evidence in court can be a stressful experience, so we try to make sure you feel supported at all stages.
We’ll give you as much notice as possible of court dates. But these dates can change. If that happens, we’ll let you know as soon as we can.
Please try and avoid any big commitments (such as holidays) around the time when you’re likely to give evidence. And let us know if anything comes up that might clash with the date.
During the court case
To help you prepare, we’ll explain the process of giving evidence, including what happens in court, and any rules you’ll have to follow.
An FCA witness liaison officer will make sure you’re kept informed about the progress of the case. They’ll also be around to support you if you have any questions on the day.
You can claim certain expenses for giving evidence. Your witness liaison office will let you know what this involves and what you can claim for.
Support giving evidence
If you’re a young or vulnerable witness, then we can ask the court for special measures to help you give evidence.
This might include giving your evidence via live video link, so you don’t need to see, the defendant. Or the court may put screens around the witness box, so you can’t see the defendant when you give evidence.
Applying for compensation
If you’ve suffered a loss because of a crime, you may be able to make a claim to the court for compensation.
Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to apply on your behalf. But we can only apply once a full investigation has taken place and the trial has finished. Unfortunately, this may take some time to complete.
You can apply for compensation for some, or all, of your loss, depending on the circumstances of the case.
It’s up to the court to decide whether to grant you compensation and the amount you’ll get. The amount depends on several factors, including whether you’ve already received some compensation.
For more information, speak to your witness liaison officer.
Requesting a review of our decision
Sometimes, when we’re investigating a crime, we may decide not to bring charges, or we may end proceedings.
If this happens, victims can, in certain circumstances, ask us to review our decision.
If you meet the criteria, we’ll give you information on how to request a review.