Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Scrutiny and Involvement Panel

Tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a key priority for the CPS and we are continuously seeking to improve the quality of our VAWG casework and performance in these cases.

The work of external experts from community organisations on our established Scrutiny and Involvement Panel has been invaluable to inform our policies and practice on hate crime. We have now expanded on this work by establishing the London Violence Against Women and Girls Scrutiny and Involvement Panel. We know that working with our partners is essential in helping us improve in this key area. The VAWG Scrutiny and Involvement Panel is a pivotal tool in assisting us to improve our prosecution of these cases.

The panel examines a range of closed cases related to Violence Against Women and Girls including domestic abuse, rape and serious sexual offences, child abuse, honour-based abuse, forced marriage, sexual exploitation, girls and gangs, human trafficking and female genital mutilation (FGM). Lessons learned or good practice identified from these cases are then shared to raise awareness of how and why decisions are made and to identify issues and trends in our decision-making process.

The VAWG Panel assists London to continuously address areas for improvement and to gather learning from each case it reviews. The panel works in partnership with London to help deliver a victim-focused service providing a perspective that ensures we consider the impact on the victims and witnesses in identifying priorities and delivering our business. This is achieved through consultation on strategies, plans and policies that inform policy, casework, employment and training.

The Panel aims to provide a forum for regional consultation and case scrutiny by local community partners and CJS colleagues. It also provides an opportunity for Panel members to be briefed and consulted on CPS national and Area strategy and policy related to Violence Against Women and Girls.

The panel aspire through their work to encourage more victims to come forward to report these crimes and ensure they engage with the legal process until its conclusion. This coupled with what we have learnt on how we handle cases will help us to bring more successful prosecutions.

The panel is co-chaired by one of the London Chief Crown Prosecutors together with Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC. The panel meets four times annually to conduct its work. It comprises of community representatives, specialist practitioners and relevant CJS partner agencies involved in the violence against women and girls agenda.