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Public consultation - Guidance on pre-trial therapy

This consultation is now closed
Opening date:
Closing date:

The CPS is conducting a public consultation on the draft guidance on pre-trial therapy which  replaces and combines earlier guidance the “Provision of Therapy for Child Witnesses Prior to a Criminal Trial” and the “Provision of Therapy for Vulnerable or Intimidated Adult Witnesses prior to a Criminal Trial”, 2002.

The revised draft operational practice guidance has been developed with the assistance of the psychologists, therapists, police, government departments, voluntary sector providers and other experts in the field. 

The revised guidance is intended to be a practical document to assist in ensuring that victims receive the therapy they require while supporting therapists, investigators and prosecutors successfully to navigate the legal and procedural issues that can arise where a victim has received/is receiving therapy or is deciding whether to receive therapy.

The Ministry of Justice is developing an ‘easy read’ version of this document which will be specifically designed to ensure that victims understand the key messages contained within this guidance.  

Please read the ‘Guidance on Pre-trial Therapy’ including the questions to which we would like feedback, and let us know what you think.

Consultation content

The consultation seeks views on the following questions that relate to key objectives of the revised guidance:

  1. Will the revised guidance and, in particular, the key message that therapy should not be delayed for any reason connected with a criminal investigation or prosecution, encourage victims to obtain the therapy they need in a timely fashion? 
  2. Will the revised guidance assist in addressing the perception that therapy will damage the prosecution case? 
  3. Will the revised guidance assist in raising awareness of how a traumatised victim may present? 
  4. Will the revised guidance including the content of Annex A assist in raising awareness about different forms of trauma-based therapy?  
  5. Is the revised guidance covering therapies that might cause difficulties at pages 12 and 13 accurate, useful and comprehensive?
  6. Is the revised guidance for therapists at pages 5 and 6 covering discussions with a victim prior to the commencement of pre-trial therapy accurate, useful and comprehensive?
  7. Does the revised guidance including Annex B provide sufficient clarity to therapists around how to record a disclosure of criminality made by a victim during the course of therapy?
  8. Does the revised guidance provide sufficient clarity to therapists around procedures to follow when called upon to assist with a police investigation?  
  9. Does the revised guidance provide sufficient clarity around the circumstances when an investigator might seek access to pre-trial therapy notes during the course of an investigation including the importance of avoiding speculative enquiries?
  10. Does the revised guidance provide sufficient clarity around the process that should be followed when an investigator seeks access to pre-trial therapy notes including obtaining the victim’s informed consent? 
  11. Does the revised guidance provide sufficient clarity around the circumstances when an investigator will be required to pass material contained within pre-trial therapy notes to a prosecutor? 
  12. Does the revised guidance provide sufficient clarity around the circumstances when a prosecutor might be required to disclose material contained within pre-trial therapy notes to the defence and how, during that process, consideration is given to the consent of the victim? 
  13. 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 by midnight on 30 October 2020.

If you are replying by email, we would be grateful if you would not attach any other documents to the consultation response form document. There are limits on the size of documents that we are able to accept and any completed response form document which has an attachment runs the risk of not being delivered. If you wish to send an attachment to us, or raise any queries that you have on the consultation, these can be submitted separately to the same e-mail address shown above.

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:

PTT 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.

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).

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