Going to Court

The strength and bravery it takes to tell someone about your abuse is undeniable – The courage it takes to seek justice is simply immeasurable.

Too many abusers rely on the silence and fear of their victims to shield them from justice. They underestimate your power and strength.

The Government is committed to combating sexual offences, appalling crimes that devastate the lives of victims and their families and inspire fear in our communities.

Specialist counsellors are funded to ensure that your needs and safety is the top priority for all agencies throughout the Criminal Justice process so that you can live without fear of future violence and access the services you need.

Across Government they are working to improve the investigation and prosecution of sex offences and want to send a strong message to perpetrators of these cowardly and sickening crimes that they will not be tolerated.

By improving the standard of care, information and support available to you, more people like you will have the confidence to come forward to report crimes and most importantly, have the support to work with criminal justice professionals to bring perpetrators to justice.

 

The court process explained….

Either the Crown Prosecution Service or the police will decide whether or not your case goes to court.

The decision is based on two questions:

  1. Is there enough evidence for a ‘realistic prospect of conviction’? If the CPS or police do not think there is enough evidence, or it is not the right kind of evidence, the case will not go to court, no matter how serious the crime is.
  2. Is it in the public interest for this case to go to court? If the crime is serious, the CPS or police will usually prosecute unless it would clearly not be in the public interest for them to do so.

Case heard at Crown Court

If your case goes to Crown Court, it will be heard by a judge and jury. There will be barristers to represent the prosecution (CPS), and a barrister to represent the person charged with assaulting you. When the jury have heard all of the evidence, they will decide if they believe the person charged with assaulting you committed the crime.

If you have to go to court

If the defendant pleads not guilty, it is possible that you may have to go to the Crown Court and appear as a witness. The two barristers will ask you questions.

If you do have to appear in court, there are ‘Special Measures’ that can be put in place. These have been introduced to make it easier for you to give evidence and can be explained to you by your specialist officer or counsellor.

The Crown Court Witness Service can offer you support and advice, for example, visiting the courtroom before the trial to ease your concerns about going there.

Media coverage

The media (newspapers, television, radio etc.) are not allowed to use your name or give any details that would make it clear who you are. They are allowed to report anything that is said in your evidence, apart from details that would give away your identity.