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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.

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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

Man sentenced in first case of husband holding his wife in servitude

01/04/2016

Safraz Ahmed, 34, was sentenced today at Woolwich Crown Court to two years imprisonment for holding a person in servitude contrary to Section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. A restraining order was also imposed. This relates to holding his wife in servitude from 17 December 2012 to 18 August 2014. It is believed to be the first case in England and Wales where a husband has been convicted of this charge relating to his wife.

Damaris Lakin, CPS London reviewing lawyer, said: "This is a ground-breaking case which demonstrates how far we have come in tackling modern-day slavery. We believe this is the first conviction in England and Wales of a husband for holding his wife in servitude.

"After moving to the UK in 2012 to live with her husband it did not take long before the victim's dream of a loving family life was shattered as she realised that she had been brought to the UK only to be a servant.

"She was treated with complete contempt by the defendant who responded to her requests for affection with physical assaults and verbal abuse. She was isolated from the world, allowed only very restricted contact with her family and was not allowed to leave the house unaccompanied.

"I would like to thank the victim in this case for her bravery in reporting the abuse and supporting the prosecution.

"The CPS is committed to working with the police and other partner agencies to bring the perpetrators of modern day slavery to justice and support victims to help them through the prosecution process and beyond in the hope that they can rebuild their lives."

Background

Ahmed and the victim were involved in an arranged marriage which they both agreed to and welcomed. They were married in Pakistan in 2006 where the victim remained to complete her studies before joining her husband in the UK in 2012. Upon arrival in England the victim soon realised that she would not be part of the loving family she had expected, instead she was kept in servitude. Her freedom was completely taken away and she was subjected to physical and psychological abuse.

As tradition dictates the victim came to the country with wedding jewellery, this was taken from her and not returned despite repeated requests. This was a way of exploiting and controlling her, by depriving her of her personal belongings she became completely financially dependent on her husband. She was responsible for keeping the house clean and doing all the chores that her husband demanded. She was not allowed out unaccompanied and when she was alone at home she was rung every ten minutes to make sure the phone was not engaged. She describes the defendant's behaviour towards her as "physical and mental torture".

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  3. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  4. At 31 March 2015 we employed a workforce of approximately 5,895 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2,255 prosecutors and 3,288 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk.
  5. The CPS, together with police representatives (formerly ACPO) and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.