Advanced Search

Support for Victims and Witnesses

Being a victim or a witness to a crime is not easy, but, with your help, we work hard to bring offenders to justice. Throughout the justice process we will support you and treat you with dignity.

The aim of witness care units is to provide a single point of contact for Victims and Witnesses, minimising the stress of attending court and keeping  victims and witnesses up to date with any news in a way that is convenient to them.

Witnesses are essential to successful prosecutions and we are committed to making the process as straightforward as we can.

Read the fact sheet about witness care units

Find out more about being a witness

CPS Proceeds of Crime

When the trial is over and the offender convicted, specialist lawyers in Crown Prosecution Service Proceeds of Crime (CPSPOC) - along with other criminal justice agencies - go after any ill-gotten gains.

CPSPOC has three main offices around the country and plays a key role in recovering millions of pounds each year.

Find out more about CPS Proceeds of Crime.

Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

Offences of human trafficking, slavery and forced labour are criminalised by the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Human trafficking is described as: "Arranging or facilitating the recruitment, transportation, receipt or harbouring of persons into, within or out of the UK or another country for the purposes of exploitation."

Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour is described as: "Holding another person in slavery or servitude or requiring them to perform forced or compulsory labour, construed in accordance with Article 4 of the Human Rights Convention."

What does the Act say?

The Act makes it an offence to "Arrange or facilitate the travel of another person with a view to exploitation".

For these purposes, a person is exploited if:

  1. The person is a victim of the offence of slavery, servitude or forced or compulsory labour.
  2. Sexual exploitation involving the commission of an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 or the Protection of Children's Act 1978.
  3. The victim is encouraged or required to do anything which involves an offence under the Human Tissue Act 2004.
  4. The person is subjected to force, threats or deception to induce them to provide services or benefits of any kind.
  5. The person is used or attempts are made to use them to provide services or benefits in circumstances where they have been specifically chosen because they are a child, or are mentally or physically ill or disabled.

The Act also makes it an offence to conspire to commit an offence; aid, abet, counsel, procure or incite an offence or commit an offence with the intention of committing an offence of human trafficking.

All offences under the Modern Slavery Act are classified as "lifestyle offences" which means, the court may use its powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to restrain and confiscate the value of a defendant's criminal assets. In these cases, the court assumes that all assets acquired in the previous six years are the proceeds of crime and are available to be confiscated.

In circumstances where victims of slavery or trafficking have been compelled to commit  a criminal offence, which is directly attributable to their slavery or trafficking situation, or in the case of children where the offence is committed as a consequence of their slavery or trafficking, the Modern Slavery Act provides a statutory defence for some offences. Where the statutory defence is not available the CPS policy on non-prosecution applies.

What is the CPS doing?

The Crown Prosecution Service is working with law enforcement agencies and across government to improve the criminal justice response to these offences and build capacity and capability in key source countries, in support of the Prime Minister's task force on modern slavery.

The CPS welcomes the findings of the Caroline Haughey Review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and is progressing the recommendations with law enforcement and other criminal justice partners.

The CPS recognises the need to build investigatory and prosecution capabilities in modern slavery cases.  Prosecutors provide early investigative advice to the police, assist with pre-charge procedures and work with investigators to build strong cases.

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information in the CPS Legal Guidance on Human Trafficking, Smuggling and Slavery.