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Support for Victims and Witnesses

Being a victim or a witness to a crime is not easy, but, with your help, we work hard to bring offenders to justice. Throughout the justice process we will support you and treat you with dignity.

The aim of witness care units is to provide a single point of contact for Victims and Witnesses, minimising the stress of attending court and keeping  victims and witnesses up to date with any news in a way that is convenient to them.

Witnesses are essential to successful prosecutions and we are committed to making the process as straightforward as we can.

Read the fact sheet about witness care units

Find out more about being a witness

Crimes involving young people

Young people as victims and witnesses

Being a victim or a witness to a crime is not easy, but we work hard to bring offenders to justice. Throughout the justice process we will support young victims and witnesses and treat them with dignity.

Find out more about how we support young victims and witnesses

Youth crime

The Crown Prosecution Service acts in partnership with other agencies such as the police, the youth justice board, children's services, courts and youth offending teams. Each area of the CPS has a youth justice specialist who oversees the prosecution of youth crime in their area.

Find out more about how we prosecute youth crime

Anti-Social Behaviour

What is Anti-Social Behaviour?

Anti-social behaviour is a broad term used to describe the day-to-day incidents of crime, nuisance and disorder that make many people's lives a misery - from litter and vandalism, to public drunkenness or aggressive dogs, to noisy or abusive neighbours. What could be perceived as 'low level' anti-social behaviour, when targeted and persistent, can have devastating effects on a victim's life.

Anti-social behaviour has a huge impact on the quality of life of millions of people in England and Wales. Its corrosive effect blights communities and neighbourhoods, and it is often targeted at those members of society who are least able to protect themselves.

What is a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO)?

The CBO is an order on conviction, available following a conviction for any criminal offence in the crown court, magistrates' court or youth court. The order is aimed at tackling the most serious and persistent offenders where their behaviour has brought them before a criminal court. The prosecution can apply for a CBO at its own initiative or following a request from a council or the police. The CBO hearing will occur after, or at the same time as, sentencing for the criminal conviction.

A CBO:

  • prohibits the offender from doing anything described in the order (which might include a condition preventing specific acts which cause harassment, alarm or distress or preparatory acts which the offending history shows are likely to lead to offences - for example the individual entering a defined area);
  • requires the offender to do anything described in the order (for example, attendance at a course to educate offenders on alcohol and its effects).

 For a CBO to be made:

  • the court must be satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that the offender has engaged in behaviour that caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person; and
  • the court considers that making the order will help in preventing the offender from engaging in such behaviour.

What is the purpose of a CBO?

The CBO tackles the most persistently anti-social individuals who are engaged in criminal activity. The CBO prohibits the offender from doing anything described in the order; and requires the offender to do anything described in the order.

The CBO can be used to deal with a wide range of anti-social behaviours following an individual's conviction for a criminal offence; for example, threatening violence against others in the community, persistently being drunk and aggressive in public or criminal damage. A CBO and conditions of an order should not be designed to stop reasonable, trivial or benign behaviour that has not caused, or is unlikely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to victims or communities.

How long does a CBO last?

The terms of the CBO must include the duration of the order. For adults this is a minimum of two years up to an indefinite period. For under-18s the order must be between one and three years.

How does the CBO stop the offender from doing certain things?

The CBO must clearly describe the details of what the offender is not allowed to do (prohibitions) as well as what they must do (requirements). Orders can include prohibitions or requirements or both. It is up to the court to decide which are needed to help prevent further anti-social behaviour, as well as which measures are most appropriate to tackle the underlying cause of the behaviour. So far as practicable, these must not interfere with an offender's education or work commitments or conflict with any other court order or injunction the offender is subject to. In addition to these factors, practitioners should, in proposing prohibitions or requirements to the court, also consider the impact on any caring responsibilities the respondent may have and, in the event that the respondent has any disability, whether he or she is capable of complying with the proposed prohibitions or requirements.

Where a CBO includes a requirement, it must specify the person who is to be responsible for supervising compliance with that requirement. The person may be an individual or an organisation. The court must receive evidence about its suitability and enforceability from: (1) the individual to be specified in the order; or (2) an individual representing the organisation to be specified in the order.

What is the CPS role with regard to CBOs?

The CPS may seek a CBO following conviction (Part 2 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014). The CPS also has a role with regard to breach of CBOs, as the breach of a CBO is a criminal offence.

Where can I find more information?

CPS guidance on Criminal Behaviour Orders

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

Anti-social Behaviour powers:  Statutory Guidance for frontline professionals