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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

"Honour crimes" and forced marriage

What is a so-called 'honour' crime?

So-called 'honour based violence' is a crime or incident, which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community.

'So-called Honour Crime' is a fundamental abuse of Human Rights.

There is no honour in the commission of murder, rape, kidnap and the many other acts, behaviour and conduct which make up 'violence in the name of so-called honour'.

The simplicity of the above definition is not intended in any way to minimise the levels of violence, harm and hurt caused by such acts.

(definition used by the Metropolitan Police Working Group on honour based violence)

What is a forced marriage?

In a forced marriage you are coerced into marrying someone against your will. You may be physically threatened or emotionally blackmailed to do so. It is an abuse of human rights and cannot be justified on any religious or cultural basis.

It’s not the same as an arranged marriage where you have a choice as to whether to accept the arrangement or not. The tradition of arranged marriages has operated successfully within many communities and countries for a very long time.

(Definition from the Foreign and Commonwealth office)

Both 'honour crimes' and forced marriage are forms of domestic violence.

Forced Marriage (civil protection) Act 2007 came into force on 25th November 2008

Recommendations on future work on forced marriage and so-called 'honour' crime

CPS pilot on forced marriage and so-called ‘honour’ crime – findings

Policy for prosecuting domestic violence

Natasha Wins Coveted CPS Scholarship


A forced marriage expert has been named as this year's recipient of the coveted Crown Prosecution Service Anthony Walker Law Scholarship.

Natasha Rattu, 24, has been selected for the Scholarship, which was set up by Merseyside CPS as a tribute to murdered law student Anthony Walker, to help aspiring lawyers from BME backgrounds.

Natasha says she plans to use the scholarship to help address the issue of hate crime.

We asked Natasha to tell us about her interest in Domestic Violence issues and hate crime:

Natasha Rattu video interview

Text transcript of the video interview with Natasha Rattu:

"I graduated in 2006 from Leeds and I went on to work with the Crime and Disorder partnership in Derby as an independent domestic violence advocate. So I was able to gain a lot of experience and knowledge and specialise in the area. That role was principally around supporting victims from a grass roots level through the criminal justice system from a point of reporting right through to sentencing if it got through to trial."

"In my second role I worked for the Community relationship partnership in Newcastle again with a strategic policy role in domestic violence and I have found that working in that role, and working more with hate crime has really channelled what I want to do and enabled me to think this is what I want to do."

She went on to say: "I have always wanted to work for the Crown Prosecution Service and I am always looking for opportunities. I saw the news item about the Anthony Walker Scholarship a week before the deadline and set to work on my application right away."

Natasha's track record makes impressive reading. After graduating, she took three years out to return to her home town of Derby where she took up a post with the Council's Community Safety Partnership. Here she developed an approach which increased the number of domestic violence victims giving evidence at court.

She was asked to join Newcastle City Council to continue this work and also became the lead on forced marriages in the city.

After completing her stint in Newcastle, Natasha enrolled on the Bar Vocational Course and took up a voluntary post with Karma Nirvana - a Derby charity which aims to shape policy and help survivors of forced marriage and so-called honour crime. It was here that Natasha spotted an advert for Anthony Walker Law Scholarship applications.

Natasha says she has a passion for fighting injustice and the Scholarship offered the perfect opportunity to do this at grass roots level. She said: "The Scholarship gives me the chance to work with communities and get an insight into the criminal justice service at every point, from crime to court.

"It is a real privilege for me to take up this scholarship in the name of Anthony Walker and I hope I can prove myself worthy of that honour."

Law student Anthony was murdered in a racist attack in Huyton, Liverpool, in 2005. The Anthony Walker Law Scholarship aims to support students from BME groups pursuing a career in law and also aims to address under representation of BME groups in criminal law.

Each year, one recipient is given financial assistance as well as work-based training with the CPS in Merseyside. They are also expected to promote a career in law and the justice system as a whole to young people from BME groups.


  1. For more information, or to bid for an interview with Natasha, please contact CPS press officer Sarah Goldthorpe on 07818 588 629
  2. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  3. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). These are organised into 14 Groups, plus CPS London, each overseen by Group Chair, a senior CCP. In addition there are four specialised national divisions: Organised Crime, Special Crime, Counter-Terrorism and the Fraud Prosecution Service. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,250 people and prosecuted 1,032,598 cases with an overall conviction rate of 86.6% in 2008-2009. Further information can be found on our website.

    More about the CPS

  4. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol