The Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel (CSARP), which is a joint enterprise between the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), looks again at cases where a victim or survivor feel the decision to take no further action (NFA) in an investigation was unjust and would like the result to be reconsidered.
The panel, which was set up in June 2013, consider whether the approach taken by the police or CPS was wrong and advises whether the allegations should be reinvestigated and/ or reviewed.
To do this, the panel looks at the information requested of and provided by the relevant police force or CPS area, to decide whether to advise that the original decision was correct or if further action should be taken.
If the decision is made to reinvestigate or review the case, it will be referred back to the police force or CPS area from where the case originated for them to decide on the action to be taken.
If the panel agrees with the original decision to take no further action, the victim or survivor is informed by letter with specialist help and support provided or signposted. There is no appeal point beyond the panel.
Since being set up, 184 cases have been referred to CSARP. Of these,
• 143 cases were reinvestigated by police or reconsidered by CPS (78%)
• 20 cases were agreed NFA by the panel (11%)
• 21 cases where the victim disengaged with the panel (11%)
Of the 143 cases that were reinvestigated or reconsidered,
• 44 cases resulted in NFA by police or CPS (31%)
• 29 cases resulted in a charging decision (20%)
• 21 cases resulted in a conviction (15%)
• 14 cases remain live investigations (10%)
“It is really encouraging that 78% of cases being referred to the panel are being reinvestigated or reconsidered by police and CPS, ensuring the case is examined again to present day standards. Whilst some cases do not result in a charging decision, it is crucial that victims and survivors feels they have been listened to and provided with an explanation regarding why the case cannot proceed.”
CPS Chief Crown Prosecutor, Ed Beltrami, said, “Getting justice for victims of these horrific crimes is a priority and I urge anyone who feels a decision should be revisited to engage with the panel. Working with police, it is imperative we give victims the confidence to come forward and report these offences.
“Since its inception, a number of cases referred have been reviewed, charged and prosecuted. CPS and police have come a long way over the years in understanding sexual abuse offences, and our knowledge and understanding of them will continue to develop. It is important that decisions that were made before this change came about are looked at again.”
Victims and survivors who wish to refer their case to the panel can do so through a dedicated email address: email@example.com
Alternatively, victims and survivors can also bring their previous complaint back to the relevant police force and/or Crown Prosecution Service.