Violence Against Women and Girls

|Publication

Introduction

The CPS developed a Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy, not only as a result of the importance the Service places on improving prosecutions of these crimes and supporting victims, but also in recognition of the United Nations, Council of Europe and End Violence Against Women Campaign initiatives and as part of the cross-government VAWG strategy (the cross-government VAWG narrative and action plans are available from GOV.UK. Our commitment to this work is reflected in the fact that CPS includes Violence Against Women and Girls in its key priorities. This section provides links to policy and guidance reports on Violence against Women and prosecution performance information. It includes VAWG work in relation to:

  • domestic abuse;
  • forced marriage;
  • honour-based violence;
  • female genital mutilation;
  • rape and sexual offences;
  • prostitution;
  • human trafficking;
  • child abuse; and
  • pornography

In recognising these forms of violence against women and girls, the CPS does not neglect abuse directed towards men or perpetrated by women. Male victims will receive the same access to protection and legal redress and the gender of the perpetrator does not make any difference to the CPS approach to bringing offenders to justice.

NB: Publications prior to 2014 can be found in the National Archives' record of the CPS website

Performance Information

CPS Violence against Women and Girls crime report 2017-2018

This is the eleventh Crown Prosecution Service Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) annual report. It covers the following strands of Violence against Women and Girls: child abuse; domestic abuse; forced marriage; harassment; honour-based violence; human trafficking; pornography; prostitution; and rape and sexual offences. The report outlines our prosecution progress over the last decade and in 2017-18.

Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF/Microsoft Excel spreadsheet:

Policy and Guidance across all strands of VAWG

Violence against women and girls

CPS 2017-2020 Violence Against Women strategy and action plans

The CPS Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy 2017-2020 sets out the vision for developing our VAWG work in line with the wider CPS and cross-government VAWG Strategy Objectives.

Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF: CPS 2017-2020 Violence Against Women Strategy and 2017-2018 Violence Against Women and Girls Action Plan. Adobe PDF documents, approx 363kb and 280kb.

CPS public statement on male victims for crimes covered by the CPS VAWG Strategy

As part of the revised CPS VAWG Strategy the CPS has produced a Public Statement on male victims of offences including rape, domestic abuse, harassment, stalking and child sexual abuse. The CPS has always been committed to securing justice for all victims, both male and female, and applies policies fairly and equally.

This new public statement sets out plans including: giving prosecutors more information to help them better understand the experiences of male victims and working with third sector organisations and campaign groups to challenge gender stereotypes and improve reporting.

Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF: CPS public statement on male victims for crimes covered by the CPS VAWG Strategy. Adobe PDF document, approx 204kb.

Violence against Women prosecution guidance

This sets out the CPS' policy and guidance in relation to violence against women and girls.

Available online in the Legal Guidance section on this site: Violence Against Women prosecution guidance

Toolkit for prosecutors on Violence Against Women and Girls cases involving vulnerable victims

The purpose of this Toolkit is to support prosecutors dealing with Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) cases involving a vulnerable victim.

Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF: Toolkit - approx 253kb

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse guidelines for prosecutors

This sets out the CPS' policy and guidance in relation to cases of domestic abuse

Available online in the prosecution guidance section on this site: Domestic abuse guidelines for prosecutors

Domestic abuse charging advice sheet

The domestic abuse charging advice sheet has been prepared for police officers and prosecutors to further clarify the existing requirements around police referral of domestic abuse cases to the CPS in accordance with the Director's Guidance on Charging. Published October 2015.

Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF: Domestic Abuse Charging Advice Sheet. Adobe PDF document, approx 363kb.

Rape and sexual offences

Rape prosecution policy and guidance

These set out the CPS's policy and guidance in relation to cases of rape:

Rape cases - Police referral to the Crown Prosecution Service for early investigative and other advice

Rape is an indictable-only offence which must be tried in the Crown Court. Accordingly the decision to charge must be made by a Crown Prosecutor in accordance with the provisions of the Director's Guidance on Charging. This document provides further guidance for police and prosecutors about the existing requirements for early investigative and other advice.

Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF: Rape cases - Police referral to the Crown Prosecution Service for early investigative and other advice. Adobe PDF document, approx 141kb

What is Consent?

This aide-memoire focuses on consent, as allegations of rape often involve the word of the complainant against that of the suspect. The aim is to challenge assumptions about consent and the associated victim-blaming myths/stereotypes and highlight the suspect's behaviour and motives to prove he did not reasonably believe the victim was consenting.

Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF: What is Consent? - approx 96kb

Prosecution guidance on perverting the course of justice - charging in cases involving rape and/or domestic abuse allegations

This sets out the CPS' legal guidance on cases of perverting the course of justice where allegations of rape and/or domestic abuse are involved.

Available in the prosecution guidance section of this website: Perverting the course of justice - charging in cases involving rape and/or domestic violence allegations

Under the spotlight - Charging Perverting the Course of Justice and Wasting Police Time in cases involving allegedly false rape and domestic violence allegations (2013)

Joint report to the Director of Public Prosecutions by Alison Levitt QC, Principal Legal Advisor, and the Crown Prosecution Service Equality and Diversity Unit. Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF: Under the spotlight - Charging Perverting the Course of Justice and Wasting Police Time in cases involving allegedly false rape and domestic violence allegations (2013)

Stalking and Harassment

Prosecution guidance on stalking and harassment

This sets out the CPS' prosecution guidance on cases of stalking and harrassment.

Available online in the Prosecution Guidance section: Stalking and Harassment prosecution guidance

Joint protocol on the appropriate handling of stalking or harassment offences

This Joint protocol between the Crown Prosecution Service and the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), published on 11 September 2014 and revised on 23 May 2018, sets out the principles governing the investigation and prosecution of stalking or harassment offences.

Joint Protocol on the Appropriate Handling of Stalking Offences - PDF (approx 173kb)

So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (including forced marriage and female genital mutilation)

Guidance on identifying and flagging cases of forced marriage and 'honour-based' violence

This sets out the CPS' guidance on identifying and flagging cases of forced marriage and 'honour-based' violence

Available in the prosecution guidance section on this site: Forced marriage and 'honour-based' violence identification and flagging guidance

Guidance on prosecuting cases of forced marriage and 'honour-based' violence

This sets out the CPS' guidance on prosecuting cases of forced marriage and 'honour-based' violence

Available in the prosecution guidance section on this site: Forced marriage and 'honour-based' violence prosecution guidance

Guidance on prosecuting cases of female genital mutilation

This sets out the CPS' legal guidance in relation to cases of female genital mutilation

Available in the prosecution guidance section on this site: female genital mutilation prosecution guidance

Child sexual abuse

Guidance on prosecuting cases of child sexual abuse

This sets out the CPS' legal guidance in relation to cases involving child sexual abuse

Available in the prosecution guidance section on this site: Child sexual abuse prosecution guidance

Guidance on prosecuting cases of prohibited images of children

This sets out the CPS' prosecution guidance in relation to cases of prohibited images of children

Available in the prosecution guidance section on this site: Prohibited images of children prosecution guidance

Prostitution

Guidance on prosecuting cases of prostitution and exploitation of prostitution

The CPS focuses on the prosecution of those who force others into prostitution, exploit, abuse and harm them. Our joint approach with the police, with the support of other agencies, is to help those involved in prostitution to develop routes out.

The context is frequently one of abuse of power, used by those that incite and control prostitution - the majority of whom are men - to control the sellers of sex - the majority of whom are women. However, the CPS recognises that these offences can be targeted at anyone, regardless of gender.

The CPS charging practice is to tackle those who recruit others into prostitution for their own gain or someone else’s, by charging offences of causing, inciting or controlling prostitution for gain, or trafficking for sexual exploitation. In addition to attracting significant sentences, these offences also provide opportunities for seizure of assets through Proceeds of Crime Act orders and the application of Trafficking Prevention Orders.

For those offences which are summary only (loitering and soliciting, kerb crawling, paying for sexual services and advertising prostitution) the police retain the discretion not to arrest or report to the CPS those suspected of committing an offence, or they can charge the offence without reference to a prosecutor, regardless of whether the suspect intends to plead guilty or not guilty.

The prosecution guidance on prostitution and exploitation of prostitution sets out thoroughly the CPS policy in relation to these offences.

Available in the prosecution guidance section on this site: Prostitution and exploitation of prostitution prosecution guidance

Human trafficking focusing on sexual exploitation

Policy for prosecuting cases of human trafficking

This sets out the CPS' policy in relation to cases of human trafficking.

Available as a PDF download from the publications section: Human trafficking prosecution policy (PDF)

Guidance on prosecuting cases of human trafficking

Available in the prosecution guidance section on this site: Prosecution policy on human trafficking, smuggling and slavery

Pornography and obscenity

Guidance on Prosecuting Cases of Obscene Publications

This sets out the CPS' prosecution guidance in relation to cases involving Obscene Publications.

Available in the prosecution guidance section on this site: Obscene publications prosecution Guidance

Archived publications pre-2018, by strand

Violence against women and girls

2017

CPS Violence against Women and Girls crime report 2016-2017

This is the tenth Crown Prosecution Service Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) annual report. It covers the following strands of Violence against Women and Girls: child abuse; domestic abuse; forced marriage; harassment; honour-based violence; human trafficking; pornography; prostitution; and rape and sexual offences. The report outlines our prosecution progress over the last decade and in 2016-17.

Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF/Microsoft Excel spreadsheet:

2016

CPS Violence against Women and Girls crime report 2015-2016

This is the ninth Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) annual report, and covers the following strands of Violence against Women and Girls for 2015-16: child abuse; domestic abuse; forced marriage; harassment; honour-based violence; human trafficking; pornography; prostitution; and rape and sexual offences.

Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF/Microsoft Excel spreadsheet:

2015

CPS Violence against Women and Girls crime report 2014-2015

This is the eighth Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) annual report, and covers the following strands of Violence against Women and Girls for 2014-15: child abuse; domestic abuse; forced marriage; harassment; honour-based violence; human trafficking; pornography; prostitution; and rape and sexual offences.

Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF/Microsoft Excel spreadsheet

CPS Violence against Women and Girls crime report 2013-2014

This is the seventh Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) annual report, and covers the following strands of Violence against Women and Girls for 2013-14: child abuse; domestic violence; forced marriage; harassment; honour-based violence; human trafficking; pornography; prostitution; and rape and sexual offences.

Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF/Microsoft Excel spreadsheet

Rape and sexual offences

2015

Report of the Independent Review into The Investigation and Prosecution of Rape in London by Rt Hon Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC

An independent review of how the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) investigate and prosecute rape cases has provided a timely, informative and candid overview of our joint-working practices; which will act as a framework for major changes in the future.

In June 2014 the Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, and Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders commissioned the right honourable Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC to conduct a victim-centred review of current protocols and procedures, and identify where improvements could be made.

This was as a result of a significant increase in the number of rape allegations made, either recent or non recent, in London in the year 2013 - 2014, following the high profile Operation Yewtree.

Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF (Published June 2015):
Independent Review into The Investigation and Prosecution of Rape in London - approx 1.8mb
Joint response from the Metropolitan Police Service and the CPS to the Independent Review - approx 630kb

Rape Action Plan

The Crown Prosecution Service and the Police have published a joint Rape Action Plan following a National Scrutiny Panel held to consider the falling levels of referrals of rape cases as well as wider issues related to their investigation and prosecution. This Action Plan marks an important step in further improving our response to rape cases and victims.

Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF (first published June 2014; Updated in April 2015):
Rape Action Plan - approx 189kb

So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (including forced marriage and female genital mutilation)

2014

DPP action plan on female genital mutilation

Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, published his action plan on improving prosecutions for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Available to download in Adobe Acrobat PDF: DPP action plan on female genital mutilation

NB: Publications prior to 2014 can be found in the National Archives' record of the CPS website

These include:

Violence Against Women and Girls:

  • Previous VAWG Reports back to 2007-08
  • A consultation on the CPS Violence against Women Strategy and Action Plans - summary of responses
  • Previous Violence Against Women Strategy and Action Plans 2008-2011
  • CPS Violence against Women Strategy 2008-11: An assessment of success
  • Equality and Diversity Impact Assessment on the Violence against Women Strategy and Action Plan
  • An Employees Guide on Violence Against Women

Domestic abuse:

  • Specialist Domestic Violence Courts Resource Manual
  • Specialist Domestic Violence Courts within each Local Criminal Justice Board area
  • A Review of Specialist Domestic Violence Court systems (SDVCs)
  • Evaluation of Domestic Violence Pilot Sites at Caerphilly (Gwent) and Croydon, 2004/05