One of the most difficult moments for any survivor of abuse comes when they make the difficult decision to report the crimes to the police. The fear of an uncertain outcome, a scary court process but also disclosure of the abuse itself along with naming the abuser can all be overwhelming. The police however are very well equipped to handle such investigations and modern methods of investigating sexual crimes have made the process much easier to bear.
The police will want to interview all relevant parties and witnesses. The witness statement from the “complainant” will usually be in video form once the initial disclosure has taken place. The offender may also be interviewed under caution on video. Additional evidence will be considered such as medical records, phone based media evidence and any witnesses spoken to. The matter will in due course be considered for a referral to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in England & Wales or the The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in Scotland for the decision to be made on a possible prosecution. If the case is to proceed a trial date or window will then be set. The process can take anywhere from 1-2 years. More complex cases involving multiple victims may take longer.