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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

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CPS response to HMCPSI report 'Communicating with victims'

13/01/2016

Today, 13 January, the HMCPSI published a report about how the CPS communicate with victims and witnesses.

Chief Crown Prosecutor Martin Goldman said: "As the inspectors acknowledge in their report our national performance data shows a markedly different picture from the small sample in the report - 80 per cent of letters to victims due to reach them within one day meet the target and  this increases to 89 per cent of letters due to reach victims within five days. Last year a survey showed that two thirds of victims and three quarters of witnesses were satisfied or very satisfied with the service they received from the CPS.

"We agree with the inspector that victims and witness play a vital role which is why we are committed to delivering a high quality service to victims and witnesses and supporting them throughout their case.

"Over the last few years we have introduced a number of initiatives to improve our service to victims, including the creation of dedicated professional victim liaison teams, the victim right to review scheme and a victim complaint procedure.  We had also decided to put more staff in Crown Courts to make sure victims and witnesses are properly supported and there will soon be 350 paralegal staff and managers in Crown Courts across England and Wales."

Additional information:

  • In a survey of over 7,700 victims and witnesses last year, two thirds of victims and three quarters of witnesses reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the service they received from the CPS.
  • In the same survey, over 80% of victims said that they were satisfied with the clarity of Victim Communication and Liaison (VCL) communications, the bulk of the communications handled by Victim Liaison Units.
  • CPS national performance measures show that  VCL letters were sent in 80% of those cases where required within 1 day and 89% of those cases where required within 5 days.  This is significantly better than in the small sample examined by the inspectors - a fact they acknowledge in the report.
  • There will be 350 paralegal staff and managers based in Crown Courts across England and Wales
  • Our full response to the report is available on the CPS website in PDF format, approx 54kb.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  3. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  4. At 31 March 2015 we employed a workforce of approximately 5,895 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2,255 prosecutors and 3,288 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk.
  5. The CPS, together with police representatives (formerly 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. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.