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Sexual Offences: Counselling

Attorney-General written question – answered on 25th February 2013.

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Photo of Rob Flello Rob Flello Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Attorney-General how many (a) victims and (b) witnesses in sexual assault cases who gave evidence in court in (i) 2010, (ii) 2011 and (iii) 2012 were advised by the Crown Prosecution Service not to receive counselling.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald The Solicitor-General

Advice by the Crown Prosecution Service on the decision whether witnesses receive counselling has been available since 2001. The guidance: “Provision of therapy for Vulnerable or Intimidated Adult Witnesses prior to a criminal trial” and “Provision of therapy for Child Witnesses prior to a criminal trial”, was endorsed by the Home Office, Department of Health and the Attorney-General’s Office and is available on the CPS website at:

www.cps.gov.uk

Whether a victim or witness should receive therapy before a criminal trial is not a decision for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Such decisions can only be taken by the victim or witness or his or her carer, in conjunction with the professionals from the agencies providing a service to the victim or witness or with responsibility for the victim or witness’s welfare. The best interests of the victim or witness, whether an adult or child, are paramount in decisions about the provision of therapy before the criminal trial.

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