Our articles are written by experts in their field and include barristers, solicitors, judges, mediators, academics and professionals from a range of related disciplines. Family Law provides a platform for debate for all the important topics, from divorce and care proceedings to transparency and access to justice. If you would like to contribute please email editor@familylaw.co.uk.
A day in the life Of...
Read on

CPS rolls out national blueprint as next step to transform prosecution of adult rape cases

Date:11 JUL 2023
Third slide

An ambitious blueprint to transform how adult rapes are prosecuted is being rolled out nationally by the CPS as the next stage of a commitment to drive up the number of cases taken to court and improve victim experiences. 

The Crown Prosecution Service’s new national operating model, which is being launched in England and Wales in tandem with police, will drive cultural and operational change right across the CPS by setting an improved and standardised approach for how all adult rape cases are handled. 

The new model includes commitments such as: 

- Offering early advice to police in every rape or serious sexual assault case within 21 days to: 

  • help build stronger cases by focussing investigations towards a suspect’s behaviour and not on the credibility of victims. 
  • make decisions on third party material at the outset to ensure any requests for personal data are strictly necessary, balancing privacy with the need for a thorough investigation 
  • address any harmful assumptions or misconceptions about rape and how victims or perpetrators behave that may be present in the case 

- dedicated victim liaison officers in every case so there is a single point of contact for victims to reduce the potential for delayed communication and help improve the experience for victims 

- increased scrutiny of CPS and police decision-making, with further engagement with Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs)

- a focus on our staff with a roll-out of clinical supervision and bespoke training on suspect-centred approaches. 

Family Law Reports
Family Law Reports
"The unrivalled and authoritative source of...
Emergency Remedies in the Family Courts
Emergency Remedies in the Family Courts
"A very good tool for the busy family lawyer"...
Financial Remedies Handbook
Financial Remedies Handbook
Formerly entitled the Ancillary Relief Handbook...

Max Hill KC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “Today marks the latest milestone for the CPS in our journey to transform the way rape cases are investigated and prosecuted, learning from Operation Soteria. 

“Our people are determined to ensure justice for as many victims of these abhorrent crimes as possible, while improving our support for them as their cases progress through the criminal justice system. 

“We know we still have a long way to go to drive lasting change, and will continue to listen carefully to partners and victims as we go, but the work we have been doing through genuine partnership with police colleagues is bearing fruit. 

"Over the past year, we have seen the volume of adult rape-flagged cases charged increase by 40% and are on track to significantly increase the number of cases going to court year on year”. 

The model will build on insights learned from the nine CPS Areas which were part of Operation Soteria, and the CPS and police’s Joint National Action Plan initiated in January 2021. Both have shown the clear benefits of better joint working between prosecutors and police, which has led to more rape-flagged cases referred to the CPS by police, more suspects charged, and decisions being made more quickly. 

There has been an increase in adult rape flagged charges of 86% since January 2021 (from 254 to 472 in the latest Quarter – Oct-Dec 2022) and an 83% increase in rape-flagged referrals where police approach the CPS for either advice, or a charging decision. 

As well as carrying out a rigorous internal evaluation of CPS Areas involved in Operation Soteria, the CPS also invited an independent academic team from the University of Warwick to shine a light on how these changes have been working in practice, and their findings have been vital in strengthening the national operating model. 

While a significant amount of training already goes into ensuring our specialist prosecutors are able to tackle harmful rape myths and stereotypes, the University of Warwick report highlights that we have more to do to embed them at all levels across all Areas. 

The national operating model also commits to: 

  • dedicated case progression managers in every RASSO unit, as well as a legal manager to lead prosecution teams 
  • national guidance for counsel representing the CPS in court 
  • an annual national Rape Scrutiny Panel, and yearly national evaluation report.