CPS Says: CPS and NPCC respond toThe Criminal Justice Joint Inspection (CJJI) of how well the criminal justice system serves survivors of rape
The Crown Prosecution Service and the National Police Chiefs' Council have responded to the report 'How well does the criminal justice system serve survivors of rape - Phase 2' from the Criminal Justice Joint Inspection (CJJI). You can read the full CPS response to the report on our website.
Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions said:
“We know victims of sexual offences can suffer lasting trauma, and too often their experience of the criminal justice system adds to their suffering. The CPS is committed to making the changes needed so that more victims see justice.
“Strong collaboration between prosecutors and police is vital, and we have a strong joint commitment to improve how we work together so that we can drive up the number of rape cases we bring to court.
“We are undertaking extensive work to bring about urgent change and to improve the support given to victims - working with support services we will improve communication and better understand how we can help victims through the legal system so they can give their best evidence. We accept the findings of this report and will make sure we are providing the compassionate, consistent care that victims rightly deserve.”
The CPS has published an update on actions taken to transform how we handle rape cases. This centres on three key strands;
- improving the support given to victims, and recognising the trauma they experience;
- supporting our prosecutors and expanding the size of our specialist units so that they are properly resourced to respond to these challenging and complex cases; and
- better collaboration with the police from the very start of an investigation, taking an offender-centric approach to case-building.
The CPS has recently carried out an extensive piece of research – working with victims, their supporters and criminal justice partners – to better understand victim needs. It will inform a comprehensive programme of work to improve our service to victims, and we will publish findings from our research this spring. Further information is included in the CPS response to the Ministry of Justice consultation on the draft Victims’ Bill.
National Police Chiefs' Council Lead for Adult Sex Offences, Chief Constable Sarah Crew, said:
"We are committed to transforming the police approach to rape and serious sexual offences and ensuring that victims get the service, support and outcomes they deserve throughout the criminal justice process.
"We recognise there is still much to do, and work is well underway to improve the policing response, including through the Soteria Bluestone programme. This is a unique and innovative collaboration between police and leading academics to develop a new evidence-based and transformational approach to the investigation of rape.
"We welcome the recognition in the report of the progress the programme has made so far. The learning phase is well underway in pathfinder forces, with insights from these being shared across policing. Insights from this programme are also being shared with the Crown Prosecution Service and we are reviewing our joint National Action Plan, which provides the framework for the joint improvement around cases of rape and serious sexual offences, based on this learning.
"We understand change isn't happening fast enough, but this is an opportunity to bring about real and sustainable change to the handling of these traumatic offences, to transform the victim experience and bring more perpetrators to justice."