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The Prosecutors' Pledge

Wherever there is an identifiable victim, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will follow the commitment given in the Prosecutors' Pledge

As a victim, or a member of a victim's family, you can expect the CPS to:

PLEDGE: Take into account the impact on the victim or their family when making a Charging decision

The prosecutor will work closely with the police to build the best possible case and seek to ensure that the charge reflects the seriousness of the crime against you. Where appropriate, the prosecutor will also take into account the likely effect that the type of crime you have suffered may have on your local community.

PLEDGE: Inform the victim where the charge is withdrawn, discontinued or substantially altered.

You will be contacted by letter and informed as to the reasons that this course of action was taken. In certain crimes you may also be offered the opportunity of meeting the prosecutor in person who will explain the decision.

PLEDGE: When practical seek a victim's view or that of the family when considering the acceptability of a plea.

Where you have had to attend court and at that stage the defendant indicates that he or she intends to plead guilty, the prosecutor will, wherever possible, speak to you to ensure that your views are taken into account when considering whether to accept the plea.

PLEDGE: Address the specific needs of a victim and where justified seek to protect their identity by making an appropriate application to the court.

Prior to coming to court you will have been contacted by the police/CPS Witness Care Unit who will have kept you informed of developments in the case and considered with you the best way for you to give evidence. You may also have had contact with the Witness Service who will also have provided support. You may also have been given the opportunity to visit the court before the case to see where you will give your evidence.

In some cases in order for you to give your evidence, special arrangements will be made. This may involve a range of options including giving your evidence via a television link from a room that is away from the court room. This will all be carefully explained to ensure that you understand and are happy with the arrangements.

Prosecutors will also seek to ensure that in certain cases, and where appropriate, the media (newspapers and television) will not disclose your identity. Where this takes place you will be kept informed throughout the process and given a full explanation as to what is happening and, most importantly, why.

PLEDGE: Assist victims at court to refresh their memory from their written or video statement and answer their questions on court procedure and processes.

The prosecutor will introduce him or herself to you at court, answer any questions you may have and give you an indication of how long you may have to wait. The prosecutor is not allowed to discuss your evidence with you, but can answer any questions you have on court procedure and processes. You will also be given an opportunity to read your statement or see your videotaped statement before you give evidence.

PLEDGE: Promote and encourage two-way communication between victim and prosecutor at court.

The prosecutor will ensure that you are told about the progress of the case and, wherever possible, explain any delay. The prosecutor will also explain how you may pass any information to him or her during the case that you believe may assist the court.

PLEDGE: Protect victims from unwarranted or irrelevant attacks on their character and may seek the court's intervention where cross-examination is considered to be inappropriate or oppressive.

The defendant, through his or her lawyer, may question your evidence and it is their job to challenge your account of events. However, the prosecutor will be alert during the course of the trial to unwarranted or irrelevant attacks on your character and, should these take place, will ask the court to intervene.

PLEDGE: On conviction, robustly challenge defence mitigation which is derogatory to a victim's character.

Where a defendant is convicted of a crime, and before sentence is passed, his or her lawyer has an opportunity to address the court to seek to explain why the crime may have been committed and outline the personal circumstances of their client. This is called mitigation. Where mitigation casts unwarranted or unsubstantiated attacks on the character of another who may or may not be a victim, the prosecutor will challenge the account and may ask the court to hear evidence to correct the defendant's account. Where this takes place the prosecutor may also make an application to the court to prevent the defendant's account being reported by the media (newspapers and television).

PLEDGE: On conviction, apply for appropriate order for compensation, restitution or future protection of the victim.

The prosecutor will always consider whether there should be an application for compensation or restitution on your behalf. In appropriate circumstances the prosecutor may also encourage the court to impose a restraining order to ensure your future safety. In doing so, they will take into account anything you have said in your Victim Personal Statement.

PLEDGE: Keep victims informed of the progress of any appeal, and explain the effect of the court's judgment.

If an appeal is lodged in your case, you will be advised by the police/CPS Witness Care Units and kept informed about what is happening. Where the court's judgment affects the sentence that has been passed on the defendant, the prosecutor will explain the decision and consequences.

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