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Rape and Sexual Offences:       Appendix C - VAW Assurance Tool for six monthly use

Under each heading an indication is provided of issues to be addressed when reporting (including where problems were identified and comment on any Area variation). If Groups have ascertained that there are no issues of concern, this should be stated.

Attrition Rates for domestic violence, rape and sexual offences:

Improved performance would identify a reduction in unsuccessful outcomes, against an increase in volume of cases charged, especially for rape cases, with accurate flagging, few simple cautions or bindovers, no conditional cautions and a reduction in discontinued cases.

Actions to address issues identified:

An understanding of and actions to address:

  • Issues leading to unsuccessful outcomes by Groups, e.g. victim withdrawals or non-attendance addressed by local groups supporting victims; jury acquittals addressed through multiagency working and awareness work
  • Ways to maintain improvements in the successful prosecution of cases.

CQSM: rape only

Groups may wish to comment on the quality of rape prosecutions from CQSM dip samples, including compliance with DCV scheme and quality of DCV letters. However it is recognised that numbers may not be significant by Group or by quarter.

Other VAW issues:

In light of the new VAW flags for 2010-11, Groups may wish to provide evidence of performance on Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence, Child Abuse and Trafficking cases from April 2010.

Rape monitoring assurance tool

Assurance is needed, as below, outlined in a new streamlined tool of minimum requirements.

Governance:

Strategic and operational governance

  • Provide assurance that the CCP or a designated senior manager is involved at a strategic level in a multi agency forum that oversees the handling of rape, and which involves regular liaison with their equivalent from the police
  • Hold feedback meetings at an operational level and on a multi-agency basis to analyse cases and share lessons learned
  • Demonstrate the Group/ Area has an action plan for handling rape that is regularly reviewed and updated.
    Qualitative assessment of rape prosecutions from monitoring a sample of rape cases (sample of approximately a quarter of Group cases):

Early consultation and action plans with police
(Core Quality Standard 2)

  • Police investigating officers consult rape specialist prosecutors (RSPs) early in the investigation
  • RSPs provide timely and effective early investigative advice and charging decisions

Allocation to and continued progression of case by named rape specialist (Core Quality Standard 2)

  • The charging decision is consistent with the requirements set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. Allocated RSPs take responsibility for individual rape cases from beginning to end
  • Decision-making by RSPs is not influenced by myths and stereotypes and demonstrates awareness of the effects of rape on victims
  • The decision to charge, NFA or select a lesser charge is supported by a fully reasoned and recorded explanation
  • A PTWI is always considered and the decision whether or not to hold one recorded.

NFA decisions (Core Quality Standard 2)

  • Where the incidence of NFA decisions is high, the reasons why are explored and addressed.

Counsel (Core Quality Standard 5)

  • Instructions to counsel contain a clear analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the case and guidance on acceptability of pleas
  • Conferences with counsel, police, forensic physician and any other expert witnesses are held routinely and a record kept
  • Any failure by counsel to provide adverse outcome reports is followed up.

Victim issues (Core Quality Standards 7 and 8)

  • DCV letters are timely, express empathy for the victim and contain an appropriate explanation for the decision. Wherever possible they are hand-delivered by a specially trained police officer, ISVA, member of the SARC staff or representative of specialist support services
  • Special measures applications are timely and based on witnesses informed choices rather than police or CPS assumptions of what is best for witnesses, and special measures meetings with victims are routine.

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