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CPS Commitments to Support Victims and Witnesses

Introduction

1. The fundamental role of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is to protect the public, support victims and witnesses and deliver justice. The CPS will enable, encourage and support the effective participation of victims and witnesses at all stages in the criminal justice process.

2. This document is a new framework that gives prosecutors easy access to the key considerations that they should take into account in their dealings with victims and witnesses. The document itself gives a clear overview of the issues whilst the links provide a gateway to more detailed information about certain categories of offence, victim or witness.

3. In the past the CPS has made many different statements about our commitments to victims and witnesses in a range of different circumstances. These have been well intentioned but, over time, this has led to a lack of clarity on our overall commitment and how the constituent parts of this overall commitment fit together. This framework addresses the lack of clarity and fit.

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General principles

4. The Code for Crown Prosecutors ('the Code') sets out how we make decisions about whether or not to prosecute. The Code states that prosecutors must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction against each suspect on each charge. The Code also states that, having concluded that the evidential stage of the Full Code Test is met, in deciding whether a prosecution is required in the public interest, prosecutors will take into account any views expressed by the victim or, in appropriate cases, the family, regarding the impact that the offence has had.

5. The CPS is responsible for deciding whether to offer an offender a conditional caution in certain cases. Prosecutors will follow the relevant Code of Practice and the DPP's guidance on conditional cautioning. (CC- Adult link) (CC- Youth link)

6. The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (Victims' Code) sets out the statutory obligations of the CPS and other criminal justice agencies to victims of criminal conduct which occurred in England and Wales. To access the Code click here.

7. Prosecutors will consider whether it is appropriate to ask the court to keep the defendant in custody. Important considerations include any history of witness interference in the current or in previous proceedings or grounds for believing that the defendant would interfere with witnesses and any evidence of violence or threats towards, or undue influence over, the victim of the crime or other vulnerable witnesses. Alternatively, the prosecutor may ask the court to impose conditions of bail.

8. Prosecutors will be alert to the possible need to apply for reporting restrictions. In relevant cases, prosecutors will apply to the court to prevent the publication of details that may identify the victim/witness.

9. In some cases, the prosecutor may consider accepting a guilty plea from the defendant to an alternative charge. When considering whether to accept such a plea, the prosecutor will, wherever possible, discuss this with the victim or their family and take in to account their views. The prosecutor will not accept a guilty plea that is put forward on a misleading or untrue set of facts and will take care to ensure that the court can pass a sentence that matches the seriousness of the offence. 'Attorney General's Guidelines on the Acceptance of Pleas and the Prosecutor's Role in the Sentencing Exercise'.

10. All victims of crime should be offered an opportunity by the police to make a Victim Personal Statement. In this statement, the victim may explain the effect that the crime has had on them, as well as including information about their wishes and needs during the case. Prosecutors use the Victim Personal Statements to help make decisions about cases, for example when deciding whether they should ask the court to impose conditions when a defendant is on bail. If there is no Victim Personal Statement on the file, the Witness Care Unit will ask the victim as part of the detailed needs assessment whether they wish to make one. Where a Victim Personal Statement has been made, the prosecutor will bring this to the attention of the court.

11. The Victim Personal Statement scheme has been included in the revised Victims' Code for the first time. In addition to making a Victim Personal Statement, victims are also entitled to say whether they would like to read their Victim Personal Statement aloud (at the court's discretion) or whether they would like it read aloud (usually by the CPS prosecutor who has a duty to actively assist the court with the law and guidelines on sentencing).

12. Where appropriate, the prosecutor will ask the court for compensation.

13. The Witness Care Officer will explain to the victim the meaning and effect of the sentence and respond to any questions the victim may have. If the Witness Care Officer is not able to answer the victim's questions, they will refer the victim to the prosecutor.

14. There is no general right for the prosecution to appeal when a defendant has been found not guilty. In a very small number of cases, it may be possible for the prosecution to appeal against a decision by magistrates or judge that brings a case to an end.

15. Prosecutors must be aware that they can ask the Attorney General to challenge a sentence. This is only available for a limited range of offences and within a strict time limit of 28 days after the defendant was sentenced. Unduly lenient sentence referrals can arise in a number of ways and where interested parties (for example, the victim or the bereaved family) contact the CPS and a decision is made not to submit the case for the Attorney General to consider, the prosecutor must ensure that the victim or the victim's family is notified without delay. The prosecutor should also advise the interested party that they may make an independent approach to the Attorney, albeit still subject to the absolute time limit

16. There will inevitably be some circumstances when the prosecution has to make a decision to discontinue or substantially alter a charge in a case. When this happens, we will tell victims what we have done and why. In some of the more serious cases we will offer to meet the victim to explain our decision. This does not mean that we will change the decision but we will explain the reasons for reaching that decision. Prosecutors will comply with the timescales set out in the Victims' Code when notifying victims of our decisions.

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CPS support for victims and witnesses

17. The CPS is fully committed to taking all practicable steps to help victims and witnesses through the experience of becoming involved with the criminal justice process.

18. Prosecutors will liaise with the Witness Care Unit to ensure that victims and witnesses have the support they need to enable them to give their best evidence. The Witness Care Unit will also keep victims and witnesses informed of the progress of the case and arrange additional support for those who need it. Witness Care Units will, if required, refer victims and witnesses to national and local specialist support agencies which will provide ongoing support to meet individual needs.

19. Some victims and witnesses may have a number of support needs. This is either because they have been identified as vulnerable or intimidated. The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 has introduced a range of measures that can be used to assist these witnesses to give their best evidence. These measures are known as 'special measures'.

20. The prosecutor will consider the views of the victim or witness when deciding whether to make a special measures application to the court. The court makes the final decision about whether a request for special measures will be granted.

21. Some victims and witnesses need additional help to get over what has happened to them. The help may be in the form of therapy or counselling. Prosecutors will not prevent a victim or witness from having therapy or counselling until the trial is over if that treatment would be in the best interests of the victim or witness. Where a victim or witness has had, or needs to have therapy before the trial, the prosecutor will consider any possible impact on the trial.

22. Many victims and witnesses benefit from visiting the court before the trial date to familiarise themselves with the court. As part of the detailed needs assessment, the Witness Care Officer will offer the victim or witness a pre-trial familiarisation visit and will, where appropriate, make a referral to the Witness Service who will make the necessary arrangements. Victims and witnesses who do not have a detailed needs assessment can also request a visit to the court before the trial date by contacting the Witness Service directly.

23. There will be cases in which, after reporting a crime, the victim withdraws support for the prosecution or indicates an unwillingness to give evidence. In such cases, the prosecutor will ask the police for a written statement from the victim explaining the reasons for their withdrawal.

24. Generally, the more serious the offence, the more likely we are to prosecute, even if the victim says they do not wish us to do so. In cases where there is sufficient other evidence, the prosecutor may decide to proceed without relying on the evidence of the victim at all. If the prosecutor decides that the case should continue and that it is necessary to rely on the victim's evidence to prove the case, the prosecutor must decide whether to proceed with the prosecution by helping the victim to attend court by the use of special measures, or whether the victim should be compelled to give evidence in court.

25. In very limited circumstances, the law allows the prosecutor to use the victim's statement in court without calling them to give oral evidence. The court will decide whether this can happen and will only allow this if it is in the interest of justice to do so. It is always preferable for victims and witnesses to give evidence willingly. Prosecutors will work with the Witness Care Unit to take steps to help victims overcome their fears and give their best evidence.

26. We understand that victims and witnesses are likely to be nervous about going to court and giving evidence. To try and put them at their ease, prosecutors will, where circumstances permit, introduce themselves to victims and witnesses when at court. They will explain the court process and will be prepared to answer questions about what will happen during the trial but they must not discuss the evidence. Prosecutors are referred to the Speaking to Witnesses at Court guidance which provides clarity for CPS advocates about what they are expected to do to support witnesses in giving their best evidence in court. It emphasises the need for advocates to ensure witnesses are properly assisted and that they are better prepared and know what to expect before they give their evidence. This includes preparing them for any cross-examination that may take place. Witness Service volunteers based at the court will also be available to offer help and support to victims and witnesses.

27. Prosecutors must ensure that victims and witnesses receive the respect they are entitled to when in the courtroom. Prosecutors will ask the court to intervene if the defence advocate is being aggressive or not giving the victim or witness time to answer a question. The prosecutor will also challenge the defence if they make unfair comments about the victim's character.

28. Prosecutors will, wherever possible, indicate how long victims may have to wait before giving evidence and explain any delay in proceedings. They will also make sure that victims and witnesses are released from the court building as soon as possible after giving evidence.

29. We recognise that certain victims and witnesses may have particular support needs by virtue of the crime that has been committed against the victim. The following outlines the key areas:

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Domestic abuse

30. The CPS regards domestic abuse as particularly serious because it can inflict lasting trauma on victims and their extended families. Its domestic nature is an aggravating factor because of the abuse of trust that is involved. There is often a continuing threat to the victim's safety and, in the worst cases the victim's life and the lives of others (including children and young people) may be at risk. Stopping domestic abuse and bringing perpetrators to justice is therefore a priority for the CPS.

31. Domestic abuse cases will be heard in specialist domestic violence courts (SDVCs). SDVCs are not held in different court buildings but generally have special arrangements, for example, separate entrances, exits and waiting areas so that victims do not come into contact with the defendant.

32. Independent Domestic Violence Advisors IDVAs and other specialist domestic abuse services are also available to provide practical and emotional support to victims. Prosecutors will liaise with the Witness Care Unit to find out about the availability of IDVAs and specialist support services. Where there is an IDVA it is good practice for prosecutors to ask the police whether they have checked if the IDVA has any other relevant information about risk.

33. Children and young people can be victims of domestic abuse; or they can be affected by domestic abuse simply because it occurs in the house where they live. Prosecutors will always think about what is best for children and young people in these cases. Prosecutors will make sure that children and young people are well supported and are able to give their evidence in court with as little stress and anxiety as possible. Prosecutors will also work with the Witness Care Unit to make sure that children and young people are referred to suitable young witness support schemes where available. Such schemes provide enhanced witness services for young witnesses.

34. Some victims of domestic abuse may also be involved with civil court proceedings. When criminal and civil proceedings are taking place at the same time, prosecutors will ensure that the court has the appropriate information to enable them to make other orders that prioritise the safety of victims, children and young people.

35. There are also civil remedies available for victims of domestic abuse, an example of which is a non-molestation order, the breach of which is a criminal offence.

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Rape

36. The CPS is aware that there is a general perception that most rapes are committed by a single man against a woman unknown to him. In fact, the majority of rape victims are women and most know their rapist. However, rape can involve male and female victims of all ages. All types of rape are equally serious and traumatic for the victim. Rape also has a devastating effect on families of victims.

37. We realise that victims of rape have difficult decisions to make that will affect their lives and the lives of those close to them. We also acknowledge that barriers exist, which mean that some people are less likely to report offences.

38. Prosecutors will not allow the myths and stereotypes about rape to influence their decisions. Prosecutors will robustly challenge such attitudes in a courtroom.

39. In appropriate cases prosecutors will consider, at an early stage in the criminal process, holding a pre-trial witness interview. The purpose of the interview is to enable the prosecutor to reach a better informed decision about any aspect of the case.

40. Giving evidence in court can be a particularly traumatic experience for victims of rape. Some victims may find it difficult to give evidence in the sight of the defendant. A victim of rape is automatically presumed to be eligible for special measures. If the victim does not require special measures, the prosecutor must inform the court. Prosecutors will also be prepared to remind the court that victims of rape and serious sexual offences are entitled, as a matter of law, to anonymity in the media, even if their name has been given in court.

41. A network of Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) has been set up across England and Wales to provide targeted professional support to victims of sexual violent crime. Prosecutors will liaise with their Witness Care Unit to find out about the availability of ISVAs.

42. When a case is to be discontinued or a charge reduced the police will personally deliver an explanatory letter to the victim.

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Cases involving children as victims and witnesses

43. Children can be victims of abuse, cruelty or neglect and almost any other type of crime. These crimes can be committed by adults, other children, strangers or people they know. Children can also be witnesses to crimes, both against people they know or against strangers. Children can be affected by crime, even if they are not victims or witnesses. There may be domestic violence in the house where they live or visit. They may have been harmed by what has happened around them.

44. The CPS considers children to be individuals. Children have particular needs and wishes, not just because they are children, but because they are individuals. We will be sensitive to the fact that all children have needs and wishes, but that children are not the same.

45. The use of the word 'children' in the CPS policy statement means everyone under the age of 18 years, and all references to children include young people.

46. There are no fixed rules about how old children must be before they can give evidence. Prosecutors will always think about what is best for children in criminal cases, and will be alert to the practical and welfare concerns when dealing with cases involving young witnesses.

47. In cases involving child witnesses, it is very important that prosecutors check to find out whether an 'intermediary' has been appointed during the investigation. An intermediary is a person who facilitates communication between the police, prosecution and defence legal teams and/or the court and the vulnerable witness. If an intermediary has not been engaged, enquiries must be made to find out the child's views about an intermediary being appointed for the prosecution process.

48. Prosecutors will be alert to the sensitivities of writing to children to inform them of decisions to discontinue or substantially alter charges. We do not think it is normally appropriate to write to children under the age of 12 years; prosecutors will usually write to a child's parents or carers, but this cannot be a fixed rule. If victims are 12 or over, prosecutors may write to both them and their parents or carers. Prosecutors may write to older children and suggest that they show it to their parents or carers.

49. In some parts of the country, schemes exist to help children get ready for the trial and support them to feel as relaxed as possible when giving evidence. Prosecutors will liaise with the Witness Care Unit to find out whether such a scheme operates on a local basis.

50. It is very important that the prosecutor speaks to child witnesses before the trial. Prosecutors will also try to arrange for children to meet the magistrates or the judge on the day of the trial.

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Crimes against older people

51. The CPS understands the serious nature of crimes against older people. Safety and security, and the right to live free from the fear of crime, are fundamental human rights and go to the core of older people's priorities. Feeling and being unsafe, or 'at risk', have significant negative impacts on older people's health and sense of well-being and can leave them isolated and unable to participate socially and economically in their communities.

52. There is no statutory definition of a crime against an older person, and no general statutory offence of neglect of an older person. We recognise that older people may experience a wide and complex range of crimes.

53. Where older people are subject to abuse within a relationship with the perpetrator that involves an expectation of trust, the police will work closely with local adult safeguarding structures. It is important that prosecutors have an understanding of these structures, which are underpinned by 'No Secrets' guidance in England and 'In Safe Hands' guidance in Wales.

54. Where the victim is unable to take part in the criminal proceedings, for example, by reason of mental incapacity or severe intimidation, the prosecutor will actively consider, with the police, what other evidence may be available in order to build a case that can be proved in court without the need for the victim to give evidence.

55. Older people with dementia or other age-related diseases may experience fluctuating capacity. Prosecutors will not make assumptions about the reliability or credibility of a victim with fluctuating capacity. Prosecutors will consider what can be done to support older people to give their best evidence. Prosecutors may wish to seek advice from the local safeguarding vulnerable adult group with regard to the complex issue of fluctuating capacity.

56. Where an older witness lacks capacity to make a decision in relation to the case, it will be necessary to work with his/her appointed representative and in accordance with the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

57. Specialist advocacy services and independent mental capacity advocates can play a critical role in providing support for older people that goes beyond the criminal justice system. Prosecutors should liaise with the Witness Care Unit to find out about the availability of such services on a local basis.

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Bereaved families

58. In any case involving a death, the CPS will be sensitive to the need to minimise the extra distress criminal proceedings are likely to cause the victim's family and friends.

59. In murder, manslaughter and fatal road traffic cases, we will provide an enhanced service to family members. In these cases, the prosecutor will offer to meet the victim's family from an early stage to explain how the case will be handled and what is expected to happen at each court hearing. The prosecutor will also explain the likely sentence should the defendant be convicted.

60. The prosecutor will inform the victim's family that they can make a Victim Personal Statement and will explain the purpose of this statement. The prosecutor will bring the Victim Personal Statement to the attention of the court following conviction and make reference, as appropriate, to the content of this statement when opening the facts of the case.

61. The prosecutor will offer the bereaved family an opportunity to meet with the trial advocate shortly before the trial hearing and following an acquittal. Where there has been an acquittal and the case has been re-referred to the CPS for consideration of applying to the Court of Appeal to retry the defendant, the prosecutor will also offer to meet the bereaved family (Part 10 CJA cases).

62. Where the defendant has been given leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal against his conviction, sentence or both, the prosecutor to meet with the bereaved family. The purpose of the meeting will be to explain the nature of the appeal.

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Crimes against victims and witnesses with a learning disability

63. Some people with learning disabilities who are victims of, or witnesses to, criminal offences may be reluctant to report the crime because they fear the consequences of reporting. Through the way in which the CPS deals with cases, we will try to ensure that a person with learning disabilities has the confidence, knowledge and support to enable action to be taken to prevent further offences and to hold the offender accountable. We will treat each person as an individual, offering a personalised service and will, wherever possible, enable people to maintain the maximum possible level of independence, choice and control.

64. Prosecutors will not be influenced by the pre-conceived or stereotypical notions and assumptions about people who have learning disabilities. People with learning disabilities will be assumed to have capacity and be able to take part in the criminal justice process as victims and witnesses unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.

65. Victims and witnesses with learning disabilities have a right to expect to be consulted personally about their own capacity to give evidence. If the victim or witness indicates that they are unable to self-advocate, the prosecutor will work with the police and the Witness Care Unit to seek the intervention of an independent self-advocate supporter to ensure that the victim or witness is involved in the decision-making.

66. Being a victim or a witness is particularly stressful for people with learning disabilities. Prosecutors will liaise with the Witness Care Unit to ensure that pre and post court support is available for victims and witnesses with learning disabilities. The support will be both emotional and practical.

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Crimes against victims and witnesses with mental health issues

67. People with mental health issues may experience particular crimes, higher than average rates of crime and particular barriers to justice. The CPS recognises that successful prosecutions can only happen if victims and witnesses feel confident and capable of giving their best evidence. This is more likely to happen if those involved in the Criminal Justice System understand the particular requirements that people with mental health issues may have.

68. People with mental health issues should have the same opportunity as anyone else to be able to give evidence. Prosecutors will not make negative assumptions about the ability of a witness who has mental health issues.

69. Prosecutors will not make assumptions about whether a victim or witness with mental health issues requires special measures and/or other support. People with mental health issues should be supported as much as possible to make their own decisions. In some cases, a mental health advocate may be able to help.

70. Prosecutors will be aware that whilst a witness with mental health issues may not have capacity at a particular time, with the right support, capacity may be achieved.

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Hate crime

71. Some crimes can either be prosecuted as a specific 'aggravated' offence (for example, racially aggravated assault) or it may be possible to prove that any offence was aggravated by hostility based on certain factors. These crimes are categorised as 'hate crimes'. We recognise that hostility is frequently confused with 'hate'. CPS guidance presumes the use of the ordinary word 'hostility', which includes a broad spectrum.

72. The CPS regards any offence of hate crime as being serious and, therefore, the public interest in such cases will almost always be in favour of a prosecution.

73. When considering the evidence in a case, prosecutors will be alive to the possibility that the perpetrator may be motivated by hostility towards an individual because of their prejudicial attitudes to the individual's disability/sexual orientation/race/religion generally as well as because of the individual's perceived or actual vulnerability. Such hostility is an aggravating factor.

74. When dealing with cases of hate crime, prosecutors will be aware that section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 imposes a duty upon courts to increase the sentence for any offence aggravated by hostility based on the victim's disability/sexual orientation/race/religion, or presumed disability/sexual orientation/race/religion.

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Hate crime: racist or religious crime

75. The CPS understands the serious nature of racist and religious crime and the real and lasting effects it can have, not just on individuals and their families, but also upon communities and society as a whole. Prosecutors will be aware of the duty on criminal courts, when sentencing an offender, to treat more seriously any offence which can be shown to be racially or religiously aggravated.

76. We recognise that racist and religious crime is particularly hurtful to victims as they are being targeted solely because of their personal identity, their actual or perceived racial or ethnic origin, beliefs or faiths. Some victims can also be targeted because they belong to other minority groups and may experience multiple discrimination. We understand the impact on victims is different for each individual, but that many experience similar problems. We will be sensitive to the support needs of victims so that they feel able to give their best evidence when they go to court.

77. It is essential that prosecutors take the racist or religious element into account when making decisions about prosecuting a case.

78. Prosecutors will liaise with their Witness Care Unit to find out whether the victim or witness has been asked about which holy book would be appropriate for taking an oath or whether the witness prefers to affirm. Prosecutors will be sensitive to the need to avoid the dates of religious festivals when setting hearing dates.

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Hate crime: homophobic and transphobic crime

79. The CPS regards homophobic and transphobic crimes as particularly serious because they undermine people's right to feel safe about and be safe in their sexual orientation, whether they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or heterosexual, and in their gender identity, whether they are women or men and including trans men and women.

80. We recognise that those affected by homophobic or transphobic crime often face many difficulties in reporting a homophobic or transphobic incident to the police and then supporting any prosecution at court. Prosecutors will always consider what measures can be taken to assist those who may be required to give evidence in court.

81. Some victims and witnesses may not initially feel able to give evidence in court about a homophobic or transphobic crime because of the difficulty or danger which they believe they would place themselves in by doing so. Prosecutors will, in addition to special measures, consider the ways in which the court may assist a victim or witness to give evidence where that person is concerned that by doing so they will be identified in the media. Prosecutors will also remind the court, where necessary, that victims of serious sexual offences are entitled as a matter of law not to be named or otherwise identified in the media.

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Hate crime: disability hate crime

82. The CPS understands the serious nature of disability hate crime. Feeling and being unsafe or unwelcome - from shunning or rejection to violence, harassment and negative stereotyping - has a significant negative impact on disabled people's sense of security and wellbeing. We recognise the wider community impact of disability hate crime where it strikes at all disabled people by undermining their sense of safety and security in the community. For this reason, we regard disability hate crime as particularly serious.

83. Not all crimes committed against disabled people are disability hate crimes. Some crimes are committed because the offender regards the disabled person as being vulnerable and not because the offender dislikes or hates disabled people. Where there is evidence to prove that an offence is aggravated by hostility based on the victim's disability, the prosecutor will ensure that evidence is put before the court for sentencing purposes.

84. Some disabled victims may be dependent for their care on the perpetrator of the crime committed against them. In such cases, it may be necessary for Social Services to be involved form the outset. This will ensure that the disabled person is fully supported with regard to their personal needs/requirements. Prosecutors will liaise with the Witness Care Unit to ensure that, in relevant cases, Social Services are supporting the victim throughout the prosecution process.

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Forced Marriage and Honour-based Crimes

85. We are committed to fairly and effectively prosecuting those who are found to harm others in the name of 'honour'. Honour based violence and forced marriage are considered within our policy for prosecuting cases of domestic violence.

86. Prosecutors will work closely with the police and other agencies to ensure that the best evidence is gathered and presented to the court. Prosecutors will also liaise with Witness Care Units (WCU) and voluntary sector support organisations to ensure that the victim's safety and support needs are addressed throughout the life of a case.

87. We are aware that the term 'victim' may be perceived negatively by some. Our guidance reflects the CPS' role in honour based violence cases and the term 'victim' (victim of a crime, victim of an offence) is used. For similar reasons, this guidance refers mainly to a 'defendant' rather than to an 'abuser' or 'perpetrator'.

88. Prosecutors will address honour based violence within an overall framework of violence against women and an overall human rights framework.

89. We understand that victims' experiences of honour based violence are undoubtedly affected by identities distinct from gender, like their ethnicity, age, sexuality, disability, immigration status, and religion or belief. Each victim's individual experiences of violence will be different, and some victims may encounter additional barriers to accessing justice. The safety and needs of each victim will be assessed on an individual basis.

90. We understand that the difficulties and trauma associated with honour based violence are exacerbated by language difficulties. Interpreters must have an understanding of the culture of the linguistic community they are interpreting for.

91. Prosecutors will consider whether the victim/witness requires support in addition to special measures. Click here for examples of the support which may be appropriate.

92. Prosecutors will apply, where appropriate, for orders to increase the safety of the victim and any children or other relevant family members. For further information about legal remedies, click here.

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Community Engagement

93. We recognise the importance of working with communities so that we are aware of their concerns when making decisions. We work with groups and scrutiny panels and seek their feedback on the way in which communities are likely to view our decision making and our case handling procedures. We will use their feedback to review how we conduct our cases

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Conclusion

94. The information above should give CPS Prosecutors the key information they need to ensure victim and witness issues are considered fully when handling their caseload. We are held to account for achieving the expected level of service in this and all other areas of our work through the Casework Quality Standards. By using the guidance above and adhering to the standards we have set ourselves, we can be sure that we are providing the level of service a modern, public prosecution service should provide to the people of England and Wales.

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