In our inspection reports and other published documents, we often refer to ‘victims’ of crime. In very many cases, the people in question are victims and offences have been committed against them, and the position is clear.
However, and depending on context, it must be understood that when we use this term in relation to circumstances where it has not been established that an offence has been committed, or who is the person against whom an offence was committed, we are referring to the person who (a) says he or she is the person against whom that offence was or may be committed; or (b) is said or considered by another person to be the person against whom that offence was or may be committed.
In using the term ‘victim’, there is no suggestion that the fundamental criminal justice principle of the presumption of innocence of a suspect or accused person is being disregarded.
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