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CPS launches package of measures to improve prosecution of rape and serious sexual offences

The Crown Prosecution Service has published a package of measures which it says will ensure offenders of sexual violence are brought to justice and victims of these crimes are properly supported.

A five-year blueprint, named RASSO 2025, is intended to help CPS to understand and reduce the gap between reported cases of sexual violence and those which come to court. It also aims to drive improvements in case handling across the justice system by better partnership working to remove any barriers to justice. Striking the balance between the needs and rights of victims and those of suspects is paramount to RASSO 2025, so all parties can have confidence that they will be treated fairly.

Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions said:

"Rape and serious sexual offences are abhorrent crimes which can have a profound and lasting impact. It is clear that more needs to be done both to encourage victims to come forward with confidence, and to support them through the criminal justice process so the gap between reports of rape and cases that reach the courts can be closed.

"Progress on this is vital and achievable with a long-term and concerted effort and investment from all parts of the criminal justice system. I am determined that the CPS will play its part in driving that change, working with the police to build strong cases from the outset, and accelerate the time taken to bring them to court. Our commitment is that all casework decisions are taken fairly, impartially and with integrity and help to secure justice for victims, witnesses, defendants and the public."

The strategy comprises a raft of commitments, including:

The plan is launched as the latest CPS performance figures show progress over three successive quarters to reverse the fall in rape charges.

Alongside the RASSO 2025 strategy, the CPS is also publishing two further documents that will assist specialist RASSO prosecutors. They are:

To access RASSO 2025, click here. For the draft guidance on pre-trial therapy, click here. For the guidance on sexual violence within LGBT communities, click here.