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Consultation on rape and sexual offences legal guidance

|Consultation, Sexual offences
This consultation is now open
Opening date:
Closing date:

As part of our work on Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) under our five-year strategy, we made a commitment to launch a consultation on our updated rape legal guidance this autumn.

Our legal guidance is an important aspect of our work and provides support to our prosecutors to make effective Code compliant decisions in RASSO cases helping to ensure the delivery of justice.

The updated legal guidance reflects the changing world and our improved understanding of the many complex issues related to rape. Many of the revisions have been informed by the expert insight of stakeholders. The revised guidance also features updated content around reasonable lines of enquiry and disclosure which aims to assist prosecutors with striking the appropriate balance between the needs of an investigation and the right to privacy.

The updated guidance continues to refer to the ‘Protocol between the police service and CPS in the investigation and prosecution of rape’. This Protocol dates back to 2015 and, as part of our work with the police under the RASSO Joint Action Plan, will be updated to reflect recent developments in practice.

Please note that references within the guidance to the 2012 Rape Policy have been removed. This has not impacted upon the commitments made within this document but reflects the fact that we will shortly commence work on developing an updated version of this policy document.

Consultation content

The consultation seeks your views on the following questions.

Chapter 2: Applying the Code for Crown Prosecutors to Rape and Serious Sexual Offences

  1. Do you think that the new guidance in this section in relation to the principles to consider when applying the evidential test will assist prosecutors in arriving at Code compliant charging decisions in RASSO cases?

  2. Is the new content around the impact of trauma including the linked online trauma training video accurate and comprehensive?

Chapter 3: Case Building

  1. Will the updated content within Chapter 3 covering reasonable lines of enquiry and disclosure covered at Sections D, E and F assist prosecutors with balancing the needs of the investigation and the right to privacy?

Chapter 4: Rape myths

  1. Is the revised content on ‘rape myths and stereotypes’ accurate and comprehensive and do you think it will assist prosecutors in making decisions which are not clouded by myths or stereotypes?

  2. Does the revised content adequately cover the development of rape myths in the digital age?

  3. Does the revised content clearly highlight the tools available to prosecutors and advocates when challenging rape myths?

Chapter 5: Issues relevant to particular groups of people

  1. In Chapter 5, 'Issues relevant to particular groups of people', is the content covering ‘pre-existing mental illness and potential psychological reactions to sexual abuse’ including the linked ‘psychological evidence toolkit for prosecutors’ accurate and comprehensive?

  2. Is the content of the ‘same sex sexual violence toolkit’ accurate and comprehensive?

  3. Is the content in relation to additional parts of this chapter accurate and comprehensive?

General

  1. Do you have any other feedback you wish to share around how the revised guidance could be improved?

How to Respond

It would be helpful if you could give your feedback using our online form (see below) for ease of analysis.

You can also download a response form, complete it, and return it to RASSOLGconsultation@cps.gov.uk by midnight on 18th January 2021.

We would prefer electronic submissions if possible but, if you would rather submit your feedback in hard copy please use the response form and return it by the same date, to:

RASSO Legal Guidance Consultation
Senior Policy Advisor
Crown Prosecution Service
10th Floor 102 Petty France
London SW1H 9EA

Please include your name, organisation (if applicable), postal address, telephone number and email address in any response.

Dogfennau yn Gymraeg

Byddwn yn cyhoeddi fersiwn Gymraeg o'r canllaw hwn a'r ymgynghoriad yn fuan.

Alternative Formats

If you require a copy of the consultation papers in any other format, for example, audio or large print, please contact the e-mail or postal addresses above.

Next Steps

After the consultation closing date, we will consider every individual response received. A summary of the consultation responses will be published on the CPS website in accordance with the Government's guidelines.

We look forward to receiving your response.

Responses: Confidentiality and disclaimer

The information you send us may be passed to colleagues within the CPS, the Government or related agencies. Furthermore, information provided in response to this consultation, including personal information, may be published or disclosed in accordance with the access to information legislation including the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

If you want the information that you provide to be treated as confidential, please be aware that, under FOIA, there is a statutory Code of Practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence. In view of this it would be helpful if you could briefly explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential.

If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not be regarded as binding on the CPS.

Please ensure your response is marked clearly if you wish your response and name to be kept confidential. Confidential responses will be included in any statistical summary of numbers of comments received and views expressed. The CPS will process your personal data in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 - in the majority of circumstances this will mean that your personal data will not be disclosed to third parties.

CPS Consultations

We want to hear your views about our prosecution policy. You can help us to be better informed, fairer and more representative by participating in our consultations. We welcome your feedback.

Alternative formats

If you require a copy of the consultation papers in any other format, for example, large print or Braille, please contact the e-mail or postal addresses above.

How to respond to consultations

  • Visit the consultation page
  • Read the consultation documents
  • Respond to the consultation using the online form, by email or by post
  • Make sure you submit your response by the closing date

Government Consultation Principles

The Consultation Principles 2016 are available from the Cabinet Office website (opens in new window).

View all consultations

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