Public consultation - Guidance on pre-trial therapy
The CPS is conducting a public consultation on the draft guidance on pre-trial therapy which replaces and combines earlier guidance the “Provision of Therapy for Child Witnesses Prior to a Criminal Trial” and the “Provision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.
The consultation seeks views on the following questions that relate to key objectives of the revised guidance:
- 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?
- Will the revised guidance assist in addressing the perception that therapy will damage the prosecution case?
- Will the revised guidance assist in raising awareness of how a traumatised victim may present?
- Will the revised guidance including the content of Annex A assist in raising awareness about different forms of trauma-based therapy?
- Is the revised guidance covering therapies that might cause difficulties at pages 12 and 13 accurate, useful and comprehensive?
- 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?
- 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?
- Does the revised guidance provide sufficient clarity to therapists around procedures to follow when called upon to assist with a police investigation?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
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:
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.
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.