CPS and NPCC Publish new minimum standards to support rape and sexual violence victims

New minimum standards for the support of rape and sexual violence victims have today been published by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

The new framework will enhance the way we work with Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) – a vital support system for survivors of rape and sexual violence – and other support services who work across the criminal justice system.

These new minimum standards include:

  • Single points of contact across the police, CPS and ISVA agencies to forge even stronger working relationships and seamless communication between partners 

  • Local Multi-Agency Rape Strategic and Scrutiny Groups which will bring together single points of contacts from across the criminal justice system to oversee the delivery of the framework

  • Improved communication with complainants, considering their individual needs and preferences 

 

Justice

This marks the latest step in an ambitious programme of work, set out within the Joint National Action Plan, to reduce the disparity between the number of rape and serious sexual offence (RASSO) cases being reported and those going to court. Too few victims are seeing justice and we are working hard to change that.

This new framework is a key deliverable within the Government’s Action Plan following an end to end review of the way reports of rape are handled. The Action Plan pledges to reverse the falling rape prosecutions that we have seen over the last five years, with commitments to increase the volume in cases referred to the CPS by the police, cases charged and cases reaching court.

Victims

National Rape Lead at the CPS, Siobhan Blake, said: “Closer working between ISVAs and the CPS and a greater understanding each others' roles and responsibilities can only improve victims' experience.

“Over the last few months we have started to build strong working relationships and it is very clear to me that we share the same desire to see these important cases thoroughly investigated, carefully and sensitively prosecuted and justice delivered for victims of serious sexual offending.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Rape, Deputy Chief Constable Sarah Crew: “Making sure victims get the best possible service, feel listened to and have access to support and advice is a key part of our work to improve the criminal justice system’s response to rape.

“This latest stage of our joint action plan with the CPS will see us work even more closely than before with Independent Sexual Violence Advisors to make sure officers can support victims in the best way possible.

Training

“Work continues at pace with the CPS to implement the other areas of our plan to improve training for officers and staff on dealing with trauma, keeping victims as informed as possible and making sure we gather strong evidence from the outset.”

ISVAs and support services across England and Wales provide a range of professional support, advice and help for victims of sexual violence – whether they report to the police or not.

This framework will be used by the police and CPS across England and Wales to build and maintain high quality liaison and communication. It can also be tailored to fit the specific needs of each local area to ensure survivors across the country get the level of the support they deserve when going through the criminal justice system process.