Criminal Justice Experience
AIM: Improvements in criminal justice experience and outcomes for victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC)
- We have now launched the Victims First service which allows for a centralised referral pathway for any victim, witness or family member of victim who require additional support.
- We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police to create new guidance and put a technical solution in place which allows officers and staff in contact with victims to check on their welfare and where support is required refer them directly to Victims First.
- The Thames Valley Independent Sexual Violence Advisory Service is funded by the OPCC and works closely with Thames Valley Police Specially Trained Officers to provide support to victims of sexual violence throughout the criminal justice process and beyond.
- We have co-commissioned with local authorities to provide additional support to victims of domestic abuse, this includes the creation of Medium Risk Safety Planners which work alongside the Domestic Abuse Investigation Units and deliver safety planning to victims and refer victims needing support into specialist services.
Thames Valley Police
- The quality of Victim Contact Contracts continue to be monitored by service improvement, and Thames Valley Police is currently running a "dotting the i's" and "crossing the t's" internal campaign to ensure contract quality is high. The percentage of offences per month which have a Victim Contact Contract has risen from 34% (in July 2017) to 78% (in April 2018).
- Criminal Justice (CJ) is supporting the Force Liaison Advisors in delivering a more streamlined approach to the deployment of Family Liaison Officers (FLOS) to deliver a better service to the victims of the most serious crimes. This will contribute to improving response to dealing with witnesses.
- Force CID is exploring an information campaign targeting victims of rape to improve understanding of the criminal justice process and support available. This aims to encourage engagement with and confidence in the CJ process to improve positive outcomes.
- We have embedded a Detective Chief Inspector in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) team in order to improve our understanding of CPS file requirements and improve our case file submissions in order to increase positive outcomes. Results of this are that challenges to CPS decisions can now be brought forward more quickly, and a list of ways to achieve positive outcomes for these cases has been identified. This includes improved management of disclosure and early investigative advice issues.
- A Rape Gold group was set up to improve positive outcomes of rape, including file quality. This has now been amalgamated into the Transforming Investigations work, and continues to monitor outcomes for rape cases to benefit from lessons learned.
- Criminal Justice (CJ) is investigating the correlation between file quality issues and violence against the person offences to find and act on specific areas of improvement.
- Monthly standardisation meetings are being held with the CPS to ensure a more joined up approach and so maximise successful prosecutions.
- Protocols for domestic abuse conditional cautions have been agreed between with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) following consultation with national CPS domestic abuse lead. This will allow the police to mandate an offender to attend a perpetrator programme as part of the conditions of the caution.
- To improve the number of offenders prosecuted, the domestic abuse prosecution working group is analysing domestic abuse cases that have not led to prosecution in court and is translating any lessons from this into operational guidance.
- In collaboration with Gloucestershire University, evidence-based research was used to review Domestic Abuse risk assessments, to ensure they fully manages risks.
- The Witness Care Unit has worked with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to improve victim attendance at court for domestic abuse cases and therefore increase positive court outcomes. In December ‘18, support has been given to 14,297 witnesses at Crown Court at a 97% attendance rate, and 7,849 witnesses at Magistrates Court, with 91% attending. This work has been recognized with an award by the Local Criminal Justice Board, and TVP’s Criminal Justice Department is participating in national working groups to further improve witness care provision.