The Criminal Justice System and vulnerable adults conference - Aylesbury

07/03/2013

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in association with statutory bodies in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire hosted a joint Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults conference yesterday, Wednesday, 06 March 2013.

The conference, held at The Oculus, Aylesbury, aimed to improve partnership working to ensure that the Social Care Sector and Criminal Justice System (CJS) agencies work effectively to protect vulnerable adults from abuse.

It is apparent that a large number of incidents against vulnerable adults, for various reasons, go unreported.  Therefore, the purpose of the conference was to raise awareness about abuse which constitutes criminal behaviour against vulnerable adults.  Five objectives and their outcomes were carefully crafted at the joint planning meetings to ensure that the conference had a definite purpose and direction.

The event explored how our partners, the police, and the CPS deal with these sorts of crimes.  It also looked at the devastating impact that these crimes have on victims.

Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern CPS, who spoke at the event said: "I know that there are many people living with abuse and harassment on a daily basis because of their vulnerability and that is why it is so important that we are work in partnership to raise awareness of crimes against vulnerable adults.  Everybody has the right to live without fear of crime.  Targeting someone because they are vulnerable is senseless, distressing and simply unacceptable.  If someone is suffering at the hands of another, then they should be supported and the offender should be punished appropriately.

"Victims and witnesses who are vulnerable have the same opportunity as anyone else to give evidence and to have that evidence treated seriously as they have the same access to justice as any other victim or witness. They have an equal opportunity to have their case heard in court and there are systems in place to support them in achieving this for example special measures and registered intermediaries.

"The CPS takes all incidents against vulnerable adults extremely seriously and with our partners are determined to bring those who commit these crimes to justice.  However, we can only prosecute cases if they have been reported to the police, so it is imperative that incidents do not go unreported.

"The effects of crimes against vulnerable adults are far reaching and can cause long lasting harm.  They are not only extremely distressing for the victim, but for families and communities as well.

"The conference was an excellent opportunity to raise awareness, share good practice and identify solutions, but also to network with the aim of improving relationships and working practices.

"We will continue to work with our partners to improve the way we identify, investigate, and prosecute offences committed against vulnerable adults, and how we support vulnerable victims and witnesses in order to achieve the best outcome for their circumstances."

Speakers at the event included:

  • Charles Owen-Conway - Chair of Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Board (BSVAB)
  • Trevor Boyd - Strategic Director of Adults and Family Wellbeing, Buckinghamshire County Council
  • Kathy Norman - Development and Information Officer, Oxfordshire Safeguarding Board
  • Sue Bishop - Locality Adult Protection Lead, Oxfordshire Safeguarding Adults Team
  • Julia Sergeant - Detective Sergeant, Humberside Police
  • Baljit Ubhey OBE - Chief Crown Prosecutor, Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • Kevin Smith - National Vulnerable Witness Adviser, Specialist Operations Centre, Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)
  • Richard Newcombe - Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).