The Importance of Reporting Abuse to the Police
One of the most difficult steps for an abuse survivor is reporting their experience to the police. This is inevitably a daunting process that requires survivors to relive the abuse they’ve suffered. It’s therefore completely understandable that abuse survivors have reservations about coming forwards.
However, reporting this abuse can have some positive aspects that should be focused on. This is the only opportunity you will have to bring your abuser to justice by way of a criminal conviction. Furthermore, many survivors feel that a conviction of their abuser allows them to have closure on the abuse they suffered, as they’ve finally been able to disclose their experiences, been believed and seen justice be carried out.
For free legal advice contact our Abuse Claims Solicitors.
Reporting Abuse to the Police
When reporting abuse to the police, there is a clear timeline that the case will follow:
Firstly, the abuse must be reported to the police. This can be done by calling 101 or attending your local police station. This will be dealt with by officers who specialise in abuse cases.
After your initial report, the police will begin the investigation process. They will take a statement from you, they will look through relevant records and seek witness statements. Since the allegations of abuse are about something that didn’t happen recently, the police investigation can take time to conclude. This can be the most difficult time for survivors, as they must wait for the police to conclude their investigation and there can often be long periods of time with no update.
Charging Your Abuser
Once the police have finished their investigation, they will pass this information to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS will decide if they feel that there is sufficient evidence to bring charges.
If the CPS decide there is enough evidence to charge your abuser, there will be a Court case. The length of the Court case can vary from a couple of days to several weeks. This can be difficult for survivors to deal with as they will be questioned by the defendant’s barrister about their accusations. However, there are steps which can be put in place to make this situation easier to manage (i.e. a screen or giving evidence by video link). Once all of the evidence is heard, a jury will return their verdict.
If your abuser has been found guilty, then a Judge will decide on the appropriate sentence.
Can I Remain Anonymous?
Many abuse survivors put off reporting abuse to the police because they don’t want others to find out about the abuse they’ve suffered. But as a victim of a violent sexual crime, you’ll be granted anonymity, which means that should the matter get to Trial, you won’t be named in the Court documents or any media reports surrounding the Trial. However, you do have the right to waive your anonymity, if you feel it will help to raise awareness or encourage other survivors to come forward.
The process of having your abuser prosecuted can be emotionally draining and will involve being questioned about the abuse which you’ve suffered. However, the prosecuting process is sympathetic to the victims of the abuse and you’ll be supported during each stage of the process.
The police are also able to provide you with access to Victim Support, who should offer you support and guidance. This support will continue from your first report of the abuse until after the sentencing of your abuser. In most cases, Victim Support will provide you with one contact who is dedicated to providing support in your specific case.
If you wish to pursue a criminal prosecution of your abuser and are struggling with what steps to take, please contact our specialist Abuse Claims Solicitors and we’ll be able to advise you further.
For free legal advice call our Abuse Claims Solicitors
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