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Support for Victims and Witnesses

Being a victim or a witness to a crime is not easy, but, with your help, we work hard to bring offenders to justice. Throughout the justice process we will support you and treat you with dignity.

The aim of witness care units is to provide a single point of contact for Victims and Witnesses, minimising the stress of attending court and keeping  victims and witnesses up to date with any news in a way that is convenient to them.

Witnesses are essential to successful prosecutions and we are committed to making the process as straightforward as we can.

Read the fact sheet about witness care units

Find out more about being a witness

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

CPS responds to Inspectorate audit of Direct Communication with Victims scheme

27/09/2007

Following the publication of the HMCPSI report into Crown Prosecution Service performance regarding the Direct Communication with Victims scheme, Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald QC said: "We welcome this report. The CPS now has a much greater role in victim and witness care and we are committed to meeting our commitments and responsibilities to provide a service that is efficient and sensitive to their needs. How we communicate with victims when important decisions are taken about their cases is an important part of this.

"As the Inspectorate indicates, before its audit began we had already identified the need to improve our DCV performance and the CPS Victim and Witness Care Delivery Unit had begun urgent work to address it, including a detailed internal review of DCV performance and an action plan.

"There has been close co-operation between the work of the inspectors and the Victim and Witness Care Delivery Unit and as a result, at the same time as the inspectors have carried out the audit, we have implemented key parts of our action plan so that we can address their findings without delay. We will be closely monitoring how this work translates into improvements in our communications with victims."

The action plan includes regional best practice workshops which were held during the summer, redrafted guidance on the scheme to Areas later in the autumn, a revised training package and a new framework to help Areas undertake DCV quality assurance checks. The Victim and Witness Care Delivery Unit is also working more closely with a number of Areas to provide more focused individual advice.

The audit report refers to the proxy target system used by the CPS for measuring compliance with the DCV scheme. The CPS is satisfied that it is, in principle, an effective indicator of Area performance. However it is carrying out a review to consider a more effective method of calculating Area targets to ensure that communications are sent in all appropriate cases and to ensure improved performance management and monitoring of the scheme.

  1. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7710 6091.
  2. The CPS has operated the Direct Communication with Victims (DCV) scheme since 2001. Under the scheme in every case where there is an identifiable victim, a CPS lawyer writes direct to the victim to explain if charges are dropped or substantially altered. In certain cases the lawyer offers a meeting.