In criminal law, women who have experienced violence are regarded only as witnesses, therefore do not have a solicitor acting on her behalf. There is no duty on any agency to keep them informed of the process. This is a very isolating time, and when a woman can feel at her most vulnerable, often being pressured to withdraw her statement.
We take women through the whole criminal justice system. We explain the roles of the following agencies: the Police, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Probation and the Magistrates and Crown Courts. This includes their roles in Domestic Violence cases, their relevant policies and procedures, key personnel and what to expect.
Issues that are very important to women in terms of safety, which we will keep her informed of, are:
- Bail conditions which are set against the offender to protect her
- Dates of Hearings, when he is in court, when it has been adjourned to and why, what the hearings are for, and the implications of this on the court process and her
- Convictions or sentences given, what they are and any conditions attached, what to do if he breaches those orders, what compensation is and how it works, work certain convictions mean
- Any questions that she may have about the process, her statement, giving evidence, why specific events occurred, what to expect, what support is available, practical arrangements and emotional support”
“You have explained it much more clearly than anyone else. I understand the process now. I didn’t know I could do any of that.” Woman that HALT supported.