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Reporting Being a Victim of Sexual Crimes to the Police

This is a personal choice – and for individual reasons. Sometimes to gain justice, but often to protect another child (past/present/future) within or outside of the family. The timing of ‘when’ to report will be again a personal decision.  Taking into account factors such as the resilience of the adult survivor and the support systems around them.

If you are considering going to the police we encourage you, initially, to speak with your nearest ISVA (Independent Sexual Advisors), who can help you go through the options and explain the process of ‘what happens’.

Reporting is Step 1 - with a long journey thereafter, which is why emotional support and individual resilience and commitment to the process is critical.  The role of the ISVA has proved to be essential and they have regularly been commended for the support they have provided to victims who have chosen to report. A list of ISVAs is available on the The Survivors Trust Website

'Reporting Child Abuse' - a film produced by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC)  

Reporting to the police that you have been a victim of child abuse is a huge decision. Whilst some victim/survivors do report, the majority never do. This is one of the most difficult choices to make. The police do recognise that not every victim or survivor of child abuse will feel ready, feel able, or even want to report to the police.

Understanding what happens once police are contacted can help a victim of child abuse make a decision. The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) have affirmed their commitment to thoroughly investigating allegations of child abuse, no matter how long ago the offences may have occurred. The priority for any investigation will always be safeguarding.

Within CISters we do NOT require that a member should or should not report. It is a personal decision. But it is also important that victim/survivors know what will happen if they do report. This knowledge/awareness can sometimes make the difference between reporting, or not.

The link below is to an animation that has been produced by the police to provide some background, with the intention of helping victims and survivors of childhood abuse in making a personal decision. Based on two fictional characters, both of whom are survivors of child abuse, the film takes the viewer on an educational journey from understanding what child abuse is, to providing information on the reporting process, the criminal justice process, and the support available. The film is designed for adult survivors of childhood abuse, and the information within it is relevant to all types of child abuse including neglect and physical abuse. The film was supported by the prosecuting bodies for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, and is generic in its messaging, and relevant to an adult survivor of childhood abuse from anywhere within the UK. It runs for just less than 8 minutes.

A link to the animation, which is hosted on the NPCC You Tube channel, is available here:   Information for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse


The Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel (CSARP)

If a victim or survivor reported allegations of child sexual offences before 5 June 2013 and the police or the CPS decided that no further action should be taken at the time, they can request that the Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel  reconsider the decision if they are not satisfied that the original allegations were dealt with appropriately. CSARP is a joint enterprise between the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). 

A Brief Introduction to the Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel


If the Police Made a Decision Not to Proceed Before 2013

Information from The Crown Prosecution Service giving guidance to prosecutors on the general principles to be applied when making decisions about prosecutions.

Victims' Right to Review Policy and Guidance 2020 


If the Police Made a Decision Not to Proceed After 2014

These guidelines have been produced and approved by the National Policing Criminal Justice Business Area.  The document was approved by the Chief Constables' Council on 16th January 2015.

National Policing Guidelines on Police Victim Right to Review


From Report to Court Handbook

There is a really comprehensive guide produced by 'Rights of Women' that can be downloaded which helps victim/survivors of childhood sexual abuse; or an adult experience of a sexual offence, to better understand the process ‘from report to court’. It also includes information on ISVA services as well as the investigation process.

From Report to Court Handbook