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Crown Prosecution Service invites the public to comment on revised pre-trial therapy guidance

|News, Sexual offences

The Crown Prosecution service has drafted operational guidance on pre-trial therapy with assistance of experts and voluntary sector providers to enable all victims to receive the support they need.

The draft guidance, which stresses that no victim should delay accessing the therapeutic support they need before a trial to both assist their recovery and give their best evidence in criminal proceedings, has today been published for wider consultation.

The current draft version of the guidance has been written following an extensive drafting and consultation period with the assistance of the psychologists, therapists, police, government departments, voluntary sector providers and other experts in the field.

Today, this guidance is open to the public for them to share their thoughts and views until 30 October.

The draft pre-trial therapy guidance emphasises the importance of avoiding any delay in accessing therapy in connection with a criminal investigation or prosecution, to encourage victims to get the help they need.

The different forms of trauma-based therapy are explained in the guidance, which seeks to reduce the perception among victims, therapists, investigators and prosecutors that therapy could damage the prosecution case.

Siobhan Blake, CPS lead on rape said: “We understand the importance of people accessing therapy after going through a traumatic experience, and want to assure victims and witnesses that they should continue to seek this support.

“Our aim is that when the guidance is published, it will give prosecutors, the police and therapists, practical support in helping victims and witnesses through this part of the justice process.  

“We know this is a difficult and daunting area, but we have to respect the tensions between a victim’s right to privacy, police’s ability to conduct an investigation and the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

“This is not something that we take lightly. We appreciate how sensitive this issue is and have worked to put a number of steps in place so that the request can only be made if the police and prosecution are completely satisfied the notes are essential to the case.”

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