To expect proper treatment from the police and CPS as a victim??(49 Posts)
I'm posting this as I've really reached the end of the road (and my rope), with trying to get the police and CPS to treat me as a human being, and not a statistic.
I won't go into the full details, but will try to explain as briefly and succintly as possible.
Had a relationship with a single dad for a year on and off. When sober lovely guy.....but drank every night, and then insanely jealous and controlling, although never violent. Ended it in October, though remained good friends, as did our children (both of us have special needs kids).
Went out with friends one night in January and didn't answer text from him for an hour.....after over 100 missed calls that night and abusive messages, then spent weeks declaring undying love, apologies, sending flowers, money etc.
I asked him repeatedly to leave us alone, never to come to house etc. Culminated i him throwing himself through my front door after an uninvited visit after complaint to the police. Knocked me out, dented hardwood front door on my eye socket (cut down to bone, permanent scarring), left me bleeding on floor and drove home. This was done in front of my three children.
Police allowed him TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO BE ARRESTED 3 DAYS LATER!! Communication has been awful, have made 3 formal complaints and still not dealt with properly, and Professional Standards have been a joke.
What I'm very upset with is according to charging standards he should be charged with GBH, and charge is only ABH because police weren't doing their jobs in obtaining medical reports. I have scarring, problems with both my eyes, need an op on my right eye to remove an enormous floater caused by bang to the head. Have severe pain on left side of face and in eye itself, and sight has been affected. To top it all just been diagnosed with severe post traumatic stress and need ongoing psychotherapy.
Police are saying they can't do anything about charges. Head of DV at CPS originally told me to make police complaint as was disgusted at way it was dealt with! He also told me when he had medical reports reflecting my injuries would upgrade charges.....but this hasn't been done, and now everyone refusing to speak to me.
He's been charged with harrassment and ABH. Admitted harrassment initially in interwiew, but at first hearing plead not guilty to everything and now children and I need to give evidence which I'm dreading. My CPS solicitor refused to even see me at court to tell me if he was being charged with ABH or GBH!! Court staff told me after he was going to trial at Crown, then I only found out a week ago he's back to magistrates.
I've tried to get hold of all the advice lines but can't get through, and because it's CPS can't get legal aid to help.
To put this in perspective, this guy is 6'3" and about 17 stone.....I'm 5'6", 9 stone, and disabled. I use a stick and have been very ill for the last two years waiting for an op. He knows all this but still did this in front of my children. The police will not accept how scared I am despite moving, and the charge is certainly not appropriate. As I said, I have kids with special needs, and I'm struggling to get them to understand why he's not locked up, and still may not be. They shouldn't be put through this and have a mum who's now a mental as well as physical wreck because of this nutter.
The trial is before the end of June, and I'm desperate for help.
I am sorry you are having such a difficult time. I do not have any advice to offer, just sympathy. I am sure someone more useful will come along soon.
What Jaybird said. I hope you will get the help you need.
Im so sorry you are going through this, do you have contact with victim support? Put all your words into writing and get it off to the relevant authorities.
I think that ABH is going to be the way it goes, it is possible that he will go away, I hope so.
I know it is of no consolation but contact criminal injuries as you will receive compensation for your injuries and with this money you can take you and your children away for a much needed holiday once it is all over and done with.
No advice lovey but bumping for those who have. I'm so sorry and hope that life improves for you and your children from now on. Perhaps post in Legal section with a link to this thread?
Contact your local social services, if children are being affected by domestic violence there is a clear statutory responsibility for children affected by domestic violence. Please do not be concerned you need appropriate help and advice. If you google, part iv of the family law act 1996 this states that protection for victims of abuse and violence and their children by way of non molestation and/or occupation orders is in fact the law. Your 24 hour social services will have an emergency duty line. Hope this helps.
Just asked someone who suggested calling the National Domestic Abuse Helpline and ask them to put you in touch with a local service. 0808 2000 247 . Good luck
Very sorry for what you've been through.
I was a victim of a random assault on a night out as a teenager which left me scarred and v badly shaken up (suffered on and off with anxiety for a long time afterwards) and thought very poorly of the care I received from the police and CPS. In fact I ended up being convinced to drop all charges against the woman concerned as my nerves were shot to pieces and I had no support or communication from anyone and was made to feel as though I was wasting everyone's time by pursuing it. I was too young and weak to make a formal complaint at the time which I bow regret.
I remember being told that a GBH charge is almost always "downgraded" to one of ABH but not 100% on where you stand on this. What a vile man!
As space2010 and Jaybird37 noted its worth contacting the National Domestic Violence Helpline to check for a local domestic violence support service. They can give information and advice on ongoing criminal justice proceedings and inform how you can access civil legislation such as non-molestation orders. You may want to look at http://ncdv.org.uk for further information on this. Other useful sites are: http://womensaid.org.uk and http://refuge.org.uk
Thank you everyone for your kind messages and advice.
Due to my disability, have had a social worker for last 10 years, and because of children's needs have help with them etc. But due to funding being cut no-one there when you need them. Victim Support for domestic violence been withdrawn since 31st March due to cuts, only given now if in imminent danger.
Moved to council place which is fine, but not been touched for 40 years. My problems mean I can't even sit in the bath, and a year's wait to get a shower put in. Moving has wiped me out financially. Have no family, and the friend I had smashed a door in my face.
I'm an incredibly intelligent, reasoned, rational person......normally. But the PTSD makes me think I'm losing my mind. And I'm scared what will happen if they don't lock this guy up to reflect on what he's done, even if just for the shortest period. I'm worried if they don't I'll lose it and do something daft, because the more I get ignored, the more I just want to run the bastard over. I was hoping thing's would improve when I moved, but don't think I will ever feel safe again. I go out and drive to get away from here, and then come home because I don't feel safe around strangers.
I just don't know what to do next
Unfortunately I think this is very common. When I was a teen I went out for the night with my ex boyfriend and he was seriously beaten with a baseball bat by a local drug addict. The CPS lawyer actually referred to my ex during the summing up as a 'pompous prat' and asked that the jury didn't let their personal opinions of him sway their verdict. The guy was found guilty of GBH with intent to kill, yet the judge gave him community service due to his delicate personality! The system is screwed up, in favour of the criminals. Good luck trying to get justice and good treatment, I think CPS is so busy they just don't have time to invest in individuals...
Write all of this in an e-mail. Send it along with your contact detail to CPS, the police, your councillor, your MP, Women's Aid and the local and national newspapers.
Your treatment has been appalling. Make as many people as you can aware of that.
This is the link www.ipcc.gov.uk for you to register any complaint you may have at the manner in which the police have dealt with your case and, from what you have said, it does seem as if your police authority may not be fully up to speed with current initiatives in respect of harassment of, and violence to, women.
Have you called the www.womensaid.org.uk advice line, or posted on the Survivors board to get advice, support, and encouragement from others who have undergone similar ordeals?
Because this matter is ongoing it may not have occurred to you that you are a 'survivor', but you are alive to tell the tale - and long may you continue to do so.
I would also advise you to visit your local MP's advice surgery at the earliest opportunity to draw this matter to his/her attention.
With regard to your children, if you are struggling to help them to understand and come to terms with the inadequacies of the justice system, please don't hesitate to get specialist psychological support to help you all through the trauma of the last 5 months, and what may be an unsatisfactory outcome.
Again, on the basis of what you have said, it would seem that the CPS have recommended/agreed to a lesser charge. IMO this simply isn't good enough, and it could be that a lady or gentleman of the press will be a) a sympathetic listener and/or b) publicise (yet again) the institutional abuse that women who suffer violence can undergo when endeavouring to bring a perpetrator to account although, of course, this may be after the event.
Needless to say, as per fabby's advice, of course you should put your case to the Criminal Injuries Board if you have not already done so. No amount of money will ease your pain but it may provide some much-needed financial security for you all.
I wish I had a magic wand; unfortunately, all I can do is tell you is that you are not alone, and that the Attorney General has the power to refer criminal cases for further consideration/adjudication.
YOUR SOCIAL WORKER SHOULD BE REFERRING TO CHILDREN & FAMILIES!!! I would be concerned if she isn't. If she knows that there is a threat to your kids then its her duty to act. If your not being heard go directly to the complaints unit at county hall and quote the legislation. AS an adult I would suggest that you should ring the social services as well and make a safe guarding referral for your self. Councils have a duty to look at this referral and act within 24 hours. RING NOW!!!
I am sorry you are having such a rotten time and no support I think it stinks unfortunately your story is a sign if whats to come in this country. I think you need to contact your local church and ask for help, because you are certainly not getting any practical help from anyone else.
Catholics like myself will do their best to help but we can be bossy as in telling you things you don't want to hear, the Protestant may be a bit snobby, but the Methodists will help out and their not judgey. This is obviously IMO.
Seriously OP get on the telephone you have nothing to lose there is help out there
All the best to you and your bairns.
i'm sorry you've had such a crappy time of it.
from what i understand where i live it is down the CPS what a defendant is charged with (police consult them prior to charging). it is kind of out of police hands once it goes to the court arena but they should have gathered all necessary evidence prior to this - ie medical evidence and a victim personal statement (as to how this has affected you) and provided info re restraining order etc. if he has been to crown then i'm not sure why he's going back to mags - not something that usually happens.
maybe you could get in touch with victim support at your court service or police station - they are independant of each and may be able to give you further advice as to what exactly is going on and where you can complain etc.
please note i'm not an expert or anything and obv have v little knowledge - hopefully someone will be along who can advise further.
and yes, make sure you contact the Criminal Injuries Compensation Bureau - if you have a permanent scar and are under going further treatment, fill in all the forms and you may be awarded compensation.
Firstly I am really sorry that this happened to you in the first place and congratulations on getting to this point without completely losing it because it sounds as if the responses to your assault have been incredibly frustrating. Below I have set out some information which you might find useful and do ask if it doesnt make sense or you have more questions.
You are not being unreasonable. You have a right to expect standards to be met, to be treated with respect and for services to be helpful. Never forget who pays their wages.
Police allowed him TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO BE ARRESTED 3 DAYS LATER!!
This (arranging an appointment to be arrested) is not at all unusual BUT:
Did anyone carry out a risk assessment?
Were you referred to a support agency (most likely to be Victim Support but could also have been the local womens aid / independent domestic violence adviser)?
What safety measures were put in place in the three days between between the police making contact with him to arrange the appointment and his arrest?
Unsatisfactory answers to these questions gives you grounds for complaint: try writing to the Chief Constable and your local Chief Prosecutor at the CPS and send a copy to your MP and the police authority. This triggers a process where people have set timescales to respond to you. The copies I have suggested are to make sure that the police and CPS know that powers greater than they are keeping an eye on them so dont forget to let them know that youve sent these copies to the others!
Communication has been awful, have made 3 formal complaints and still not dealt with properly, and Professional Standards have been a joke.
You should have a contact in the Witness Care Unit whose job it is to update you on any progress. If you havent make contact yourself (you will need your crime reference number). They are usually based at your local Magistrates Court so even if you dont make contact before the court appearance, they will be there on the day and will show you where you can wait for your case to be called separate from your assailant. Having said that, even if they havent done so up to this point, they should make contact with you to offer you the opportunity for a pre-court visit if you would like to familiarise yourself with the process.
You might find it useful to read the Victim Code of Conduct (see here: tinyurl.com/3kb2t7e) if this hasnt been followed in any way then make sure you quote this in any communications as it elevates the gravity of the complaint.
What I'm very upset with is according to charging standards he should be charged with GBH, and charge is only ABH because police weren't doing their jobs in obtaining medical reports.
You shouldnt have to but have you considered getting these yourself? You can ask your Doctor for copies of your records.
Communication between the police and health service is not all that it could be and in my experience the fault lies on both sides. You are absolutely within your rights to complain about the lacklustre investigation and the failure of the charging prosecutor to require that the evidence be collected by the police. However, other things you've said make me think that this may be hand?
Having said that, charging standards are often a judgement call its possible even with the medical records that they would still have charged ABH. If you were told he was being charged with GBH and it was then downgraded, you are entitled to receive a letter from the CPS explaining why and giving you details of how to complain if you disagree.
Police are saying they can't do anything about charges.
This is true (although they could have done a better investigation!)
and now everyone refusing to speak to me.
This is actually in your favour as it will force you to communicate in writing, creating a paper trail which in turn makes it harder for people to get away with not doing what they said they would. Keep copies of everything.
He's been charged with harrassment and ABH. Admitted harrassment initially in interwiew, but at first hearing plead not guilty to everything and now children and I need to give evidence which I'm dreading.
He may be relying on you not turning up at court. In my experience there are a lot of guilty pleas made in domestic violence cases when the defendant sees that his victim isnt going to back down and withdraw. Once you get to court, the conviction for domestic violence cases is now around 60-80% (depending where you are in the UK but wherever you are a conviction is more likely than not).
If you do have to give evidence, make sure that you tell the police (and copy in the CPS) that you want to apply for Special Measures (the charge of harassment makes you whats called 'an intimidated witness'). The court decides whether you can have them or not but mostly do so if the application is made in good time (ie not on the day itself and preferably a month in advance) The criteria is is it necessary so that you can give your best evidence?
My CPS solicitor refused to even see me at court to tell me if he was being charged with ABH or GBH!!
Technically, the CPS are required to speak to you before you appear in court, even if only to introduce themselves. But it sounds like you might have been at a pre-trial hearing where your presence wasnt required. This doesnt excuse the rudeness of the CPS but technically they might not have broken the rules.
Court staff told me after he was going to trial at Crown, then I only found out a week ago he's back to magistrates.
Getting the information from the court staff is quite usual (often they are the Witness Care Unit staff). However, that sounds a bit odd as cases don't usually travel in that direction so you might want to ask for more information about this.
I've tried to get hold of all the advice lines but can't get through, and because it's CPS can't get legal aid to help.
You may have already done this but have you tried Rights of Women? (www.rightsofwomen.org.uk)? They are truly brilliant.
I know its easy for me to say but hang on in there. Youre not alone and there is help available.
space2010 - my social worker is very aware of what's happened. Unfortunately, as the assult was a one off, the police won't take me seriously. I initially had an alarm, but have since moved. And although my ex knows where, the police say my risk assessment doesn't entitle me to anything extra and house security is ok. Wish my subconscious knew that when cold sweat rolling down my back during the night As police say I'm ok, social services won't take any action.
muthahubbard - unfortunately victim support funding been withdrawn from 31st March. Yes polic should collect evidence, but not done their job properly. CPS should be requesting missing evidence, but aren't doing so. Because he initially admitted harrassment, they're relying on his statement.....but he's since retracted that and plead not guilty to all charges. 3 months on they have still not even asked to look at my mobile, or requested his phone records, although I have asked countless times for them to do so. I offered my phone to the police when they came to my home whilst I was waiting for the ambulance, but nothing has been done. Police now say can't do it until CPS request it, and CPS say have enough evidence.....being his retracted statement!! Plus it's not just the number of calls and messages, but content and times which show his insanely jealous and controlling nature and abusiveness. No-one will listen to me. Before vistim support got pulled, I submitted a criminal injuries claim, but we'll see what comes of it. Not holding my breath.
altinkum - I understand where you're coming from, my trouble is I can't afford a solicitor. The CPS should be conducting a proper prosecution, but refusing to speak to me. I can't get legal aid for a solicitor to deal with it as involves police and CPS, and have no family or friends to help me out with paying for one.
spicy27 - police refused to arrest him until they had my written statement. Wouldn't come to hospital, had to wait until I was home. Didn't bring enough paper so had to cut it short, even though I offered to copy blank pages but wouldn't let me. Then couldn't read statement because of my eye.....officer refused to read it to me as didn't have time, so had to sign it unread to get him arrested. Let me make this clear.....he left his 2 children at home, drove 30 miles drunk to attack me in front of my children, left me without help and drove home. After coming round my son had already called 999 and I gave them all his details including car reg. whilst on phone. Whilst I was taken to hospital in ambulance, my children again gave police his details including description and where he lived, but still nothing was done. It took 3 days of begging for me to have the alarm put in, but then the sensors only picked up anyone inside the house, which was a bit late considering I', completely defenceless against him.
I have already complained to Professional Standards, and just had a complaint basically saying they don't feel they've done anything worng, but given them a talking to and asked them to brush up on DV guidelines!
Have tried Rights of Women repeatedly but constantly engaged. Been a bad day.....son suffers frequent nosebleeds, and never been squeamish. But now can't deal with t, all I see is bright porch lights and blood splashing on the floor. Banging doors make me physically sick
I've no help on the legal side, but have you thought of going to some self defense or kickboxing classes? You are far from helpless and learning to protect yourself may help with the fear. Hoping you feel better soon.
To iamaLeafontheWind kickboxing is probably difficult for woman with a disability who walks with a stick. However, despite your caring responsibilities, you do need to take some time to look after yourself. Can your GP refer you for some counselling for PTSD?
You can also get an injunction out so this man cannot come near you or your home.
Can you tell us what part of the coutry you are in? Might be someone local who can help you on either on the legal side or on the getting-a-shower-put-in side of things?
Jaybird - slightly lighthearted, but stick could = weapon. But (speaking from experience) when you're scared it helps to know that there are ways to defend yourself, going for eyes for example takes no strength but can do damage as a last resort. But a good self defense course can help with planning your surroundings too, security lights, peepholes & similar. Not so that the OP lives in a fortress but just to increase the sense of security.
iamaleaf - lol at kickboxing, i wish!! Did actually beat crap out of him with my stick whilst trying to force him out of front door, but he's built like a brick wall and just bounced off him. Tbh right now I'm more concerned about getting the CPS to speak to me re supporting evidence I have but no-one has requested yet as trial in less than a month. As he hasn't yet broken his bail, I'm hoping that will continue to be the case. Police have already said they will be applying for lifetime restraining order.
Seabright - I'm in Derbyshire. Forwarding my complaint to IPCC but that will take time. Can't afford a solicitor, and need someone who can help me now, not in a few months. Made a complaint to director of Public Prosecution's Office a fortnight ago. Was told director of regional office would call me.....still waiting
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