HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate release review of specialist Rape & Sexual Offence Units

2 Feb 2016

Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) published a report today (2nd February 2016), which found that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is insufficiently resourcing and staffing its specialist Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) units and not following its own victim policies in a third of cases.

The CPS has responded to the report and its recommendations and published its own review into its handling of rape and other sexual offences. 

In response, Rape Crisis England & Wales spokesperson Katie Russell said:

“We welcome today’s publication of both of these reports, and the commitment to meaningful scrutiny and transparency that they represent. 

It’s clear that the CPS has already taken considerable steps to address most of the issues highlighted by the HMCPSI in the more than twelve months since the period its review covered. 

This focussed work has included engaging with Rape Crisis and other specialist agencies through its National Rape Scrutiny Panel, developing and rolling out specialist training, which is ongoing, and last year’s release of consent guidelines for prosecutors, as well as the recruitment of more specialist prosecutors for sexual offence cases. 

The CPS seems to have recognised the need for real cultural change to ensure more survivors of rape, sexual abuse and sexual assault have access to the criminal justice they want and deserve, and that such change cannot be achieved overnight but rather requires long-term commitment; it is vital that momentum is not lost and that these efforts continue.

 The number of survivors of sexual violence choosing to pursue criminal justice has increased significantly in recent years.  At the same time, our member Rape Crisis organisations have experienced unprecedented levels of need and demand for our specialist, independent support and advocacy services, which continue to be accessed by survivors regardless of whether or not they report to the police.  Around half of Rape Crisis service users are adult survivors of child sexual abuse. 

With the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) ongoing, it is clear that need and demand for services for survivors will continue to rise for many years to come; resourcing to ensure that these people receive both the criminal and social justice they so very much deserve, including specialist support, counselling and advocacy, must become and remain a national government priority.” 

Rape Crisis services are specialist, confidential and independent and available to survivors of child sexual abuse, rape, sexual assault and any other kind of sexual violence, no matter how long ago it happened and regardless of whether or not they choose to report to the police. 

Download the HMCPSI report here.