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Domestic Abuse, Violence and Coercive Control - what happens after a crime is reported?

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

As survivors of domestic abuse we are often faced with the dilemma of whether or not to report the actions of our partner to the police. This is a hard decision and one that is made in the dark as we don’t normally know what happens once we’ve reported everything. Will the police keep you updated? How long will it take? What support do you get? And will doing this keep you safe?

I know that when I was reporting my narcissist ex-husband for the crimes he committed against me, I felt like I was stabbing in the dark as I couldn’t find the information I needed to understand what would happen after I had reported everything. So I thought I would write this blog to provide you with the information I was missing.

If you are in the UK you can report a crime in various ways, if it is an emergency call 999, if you are unable to speak because you are being held hostage, press 55 and the police will be dispatched to you. You can go to your local police station and speak to someone on the front desk, you can call 101, or you can now report non-urgent crimes online.

So you have reported the crime, what happens next? The police will then decide if they can investigate the case. Investigations can take a long time and sometimes there might not be enough evidence to charge someone with the crime. But if the police think they have enough evidence for a successful charge, they will arrest the person and who will then give their statement.

Depending on the crime and evidence the police can do different things, such as;

· a caution or warning

· a police fine, called a penalty notice

· a community resolution

If there is enough evidence, the police will then submit everything to the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service), they make the decision whether to charge or not. Their decision is based on two tests;

1. whether there is enough evidence to prove the case, and

2. whether it is in the public interest to bring the case to court.

Once the CPS make their decision, the police can take one of two actions.

Charged: If the CPS decide the case should go to court, the suspect will be charged and given a court date. If there is a risk of further offences being committed or the suspect not attending the court hearing, they may be sent to prison on remand.

Released: If the CPS decides the case shouldn't go to court, the suspect will be released without charge or released on bail while the police carry out further enquiries.

If the suspect is charged, they will have to attend Magistrates Court. From being arrested, to being charged, to appearing in court this normally takes a couple days.

The suspect will then be waiting for a court hearing (this takes about 4 weeks), here they will enter their plea, this will be done at a Magistrates Court. But depending on the crime, Magistrates Court will refer it to the Crown Court, where they will re-enter the plea, this is normally for more serious crimes. If they are remanded, there will also be a bail hearing at this time as well. It takes about 4 weeks to go from Magistrates Court to Crown Court.

If the suspect pleads not guilty it will go to court trial (this can take up to a year) and a jury will have to decide if they are guilty. If they get found guilty, they will get sentenced, sentencing happens approximately 4 weeks after the trial, you can attend this if you wish.

If it goes to trial, you will need to take the witness stand, but the court will provide you with a screen and support. Also depending on the crime they may or may not get prison time.

This can be a really scary and anxious time and although knowing what happens when you report a crime, there is still lots of uncertainty. Will they be charged? Will this make them angrier? Will this make the situation worse? What are my options? And how can I get support?

I have been through this process quite a few times, so I understand the worry, confusion and fear. If you need someone to talk to, why don’t you email me to book your free 15-minute discovery call, and find out how I can help you.

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