Do I need to report abuse to the police?
If you have suffered physical or sexual abuse or assault it is highly likely that a crime has also been committed against you. We always advise our clients to report such matters to the police if they have not already done so.
All police forces have dedicated teams who have specially trained officers who are used to dealing with sensitive matters. You should contact your local police for or the police force for the area in which the abuse occurred and ask to speak to someone in the Child or Family Protection Unit.
What if the abuse happened many years ago, will the police be able to do anything?
There are certain offences relating to physical assaults that have time limits for prosecution, but when it comes to serious physical assaults and sexual abuse and assaults there are no time limits for criminal prosecution. The police regularly investigate crimes of a historical nature and take historic allegations very seriously.
Should I take my solicitor with me when I make my report to the police?
You do not need a solicitor present when you make a report of abuse or assault to the police. We often get asked by our client’s if we can accompany them to the police station or sit in with them when they have their police interview. We understand that it can be a daunting process, but it is not appropriate to have a solicitor present. You are not being accused of anything. You are the one making the complaint.
As your civil claim solicitor, we need to remain independent of this process. If you feel you need emotional support, you should ask a friend or family member to accompany you or to be available for support before or after. The police will also be able to provide you access to victim support should you need this.
What is the difference between the police and the CPS?
The police are the organisation that investigate crimes. They are your first point of contact. Once they have gathered sufficient evidence if they feel that the alleged offender should be charged they will usually refer the matter to the CPS for a charging decision. Once the offender has been charged, the police and the CPS will work together. The CPS are the ones who will bring the prosecution and the prosecution lawyers who will appear in the criminal court will be acting for the CPS.
CPS stands for Crown Prosecution Service. The CPS in England and Wales is headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (the DPP). Criminal cases are brought in the name of the Crown or ‘R’ which for many years has stood for Regina (the Queen) but now refers to Rex (the King).
Who are victim support?
Victim support are an independent charity committed to supporting victims of crime and traumatic incidents in England and Wales. They have a really good website which contains lots of information about the criminal process and the support they can provide.