CPS Consultation – Our Response
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is running a consultation on changes to their pre-trial therapy guidance.
Pre-trail therapy is the name given to the therapy (counselling) a survivor receives ahead of a trial. It is very important that support is available to a person when they need it. With trials often taking months, if not years to complete, it is vital that survivors are able to get support during the pre-trial period.
At Notts SVS Services we have always provided pre-trial therapy within the confines of CPS guidance. This has meant meeting survivors needs while trying not to risk the outcome of a criminal trial. Often this has meant talking about feelings caused by an incident but not about what actually happened.
We are pleased that the CPS are looking into how their pre-trial therapy guidance can be changed to better meet the needs of survivors. We often hear of ‘successful outcomes’ referring only to guilty verdicts. The CPS takes time to emphasise that the needs of the victim should always be put ahead of the criminal justice system. In this we are pleased that the long-term wellbeing of the survivor is also seen to be a successful outcome in its own right.
But we are very concerned that the examples of ‘trauma-focussed therapy’ used in Annex A focus on medical-based support rather than talking therapies. The counselling services we provide are shown to have huge benefits to survivors. We are told that our service helps people feel safer, stops self-blame and helps people move on. Our services (like many rape crisis centres) are also registered with the BACP and follow their ethics and guidance.
It is vital that the CPS updates the examples given in Annex A to specifically name talking therapies used by us and endorsed by BACP. This will ensure that survivors feel able to access the support they want whilst waiting for cases to come to trial.
Practitioners are able to provide feedback until the end of October on this link. The CPS will then re-draft the guidance and open it out for survivors to comment on in the near future. We will let you know when this happens.
Our response to the consultation is below.