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Graphic showing victim in the witness box. Text reads: Victim's guide: What happens when a case comes to the CPS.

CPS guide for victims of crime

We're committed to securing justice for all victims of crime. Our new guide for victims explains what you can expect from the Criminal Justice System.

CPS and Equally Ours publish new research into public understanding of rape

More to do to tackle rape misconceptions and lack of understanding of consent, CPS survey finds

The CPS commissioned charity Equally Ours to carry out analysis of the public understanding of rape and serious sexual offences and the law on consent, reflecting the changing nature of sexual behaviours.

Graphic showing support worker. Text reads: A guide for victims of rape and serious sexual assault

Guide for victims of rape and serious sexual assault

If you’ve been a victim of rape or sexual assault, there is extra support available to help you through the criminal justice system. Our guide for victims of rape and sexual assault explains what your rights are and what happens when a case comes to the CPS.

The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutes criminal cases that have been investigated by the police and other investigative organisations in England and Wales. The CPS is independent, and we make our decisions independently of the police and government.

Our duty is to make sure that the right person is prosecuted for the right offence, and to bring offenders to justice wherever possible.

The CPS:

  • decides which cases should be prosecuted; 
  • determines the appropriate charges in more serious or complex cases, and advises the police during the early stages of investigations; 
  • prepares cases and presents them at court; and 
  • provides information, assistance and support to victims and prosecution witnesses. 

Prosecutors must be fair, objective and independent. When deciding whether to prosecute a criminal case, our lawyers must follow the Code for Crown Prosecutors. This means that to charge someone with a criminal offence, prosecutors must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, and that prosecuting is in the public interest.

Victims & 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.

From reporting the crime to passing sentence we explain:

  • what happens;
  • the role of the CPS and;
  • what you can expect from us.
Support for victims & witnesses

Crime info

We prosecute people for hundreds of different types of crime every year. This section gives an introduction to some of the categories of offending that we are asked about most often.

Prosecution guidance

This guidance assists our prosecutors when they are making decisions about cases. It is regularly updated to reflect changes in law and practice. 

View all prosecution guidance
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