Publication - Progress report

Investigation and prosecution of sexual crimes: review

Published: 16 Nov 2017
Justice Directorate
Part of:
Law and order, Public safety and emergencies

The Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland's review of the investigation and prosecution of sexual crimes by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

Investigation and prosecution of sexual crimes: review


Recommendation 1:
COPFS should develop a policy of exception reporting to NSCU at the initial decision-making stage of the investigative process.

Recommendation 2:
COPFS should revise the target dates for the submission of the Investigative Agreement to Crown Counsel to enable a more detailed instruction on the direction of the investigation and of the case by Crown Counsel. The target dates should be monitored and rigorously enforced.

Recommendation 3:
COPFS should consider undertaking the indicting process prior to the case being reported to NSCU for a final instruction.

Recommendation 4:
COPFS should introduce a more sophisticated system of allocating cases for indicting to reflect the priority that is to be afforded to certain categories of cases.

Recommendation 5:
COPFS should restrict pre-petition investigation to only those inquiries that are essential to reach a decision on whether there is sufficient credible and reliable evidence.

Recommendation 6:
COPFS should take account of any period of pre-petition investigation when allocating reporting dates for cases to be reported to NSCU for a final decision.

Recommendation 7:
COPFS should ensure that VIA pro-actively offer to contact the victim every eight weeks, as a minimum, unless more frequent contact is required or requested or a victim expressly opts out.

Recommendation 8:
COPFS should ensure that there is a dedicated VIA Officer allocated to each case and provide victims with information on who to contact in their absence.

Recommendation 9:
COPFS should consider re-branding VIA to include a reference to “prosecution” in their title.

Recommendation 10:
COPFS should review all correspondence sent out by VIA.

Recommendation 11:
COPFS should discuss and agree special measures at the interview with the case preparer in the context of preparing the victim or witness for court.

Recommendation 12:
COPFS should ensure that a court management strategy is agreed with every victim and relevant agencies following service of the indictment as part of the Victim Strategy.