Rob had been the victim of a serious sexual offence and had been referred to Northumbria Victim & Witness Service having reported it at his local police station.
Rob’s NVWS officer talked through the role of the Independent Sexual Violence Advisor and how an ISVA could help him to recover from his trauma.
To progress the criminal case, Rob was interviewed at a safe location by a specialist officer who helped Rob to go through the details of what had happened to him in his own words. His video recording was used as evidence and given to the Crown Prosecution Service. Rob’s ISVA helped him to prepare for the video recording and reassured him throughout the process.
As the investigation moved forward, his ISVA became the point of contact between Rob and officers in charge of his case, to minimise Rob’s distress at dealing directly with police.
The CPS reviewed Rob’s case and decided not to proceed with a charge against the defendant. After a few days and with the support from his ISVA, Rob decided to pursue his Victim’s Right to Review, which gives victims the right to ask the CPS for a review of a decision not to charge a suspect. This appeal was successful, and the defendant was charged with sexual assault. They entered a not guilty plea and the case was transferred to the Crown Court for a trial.
As a result, Rob needed to attend court to give evidence. His ISVA successfully applied for special measures in court, that would allow Rob to be hidden from view behind screens in court whilst giving evidence. The ISVA also arranged for him to visit the court ahead of the trial to see the layout of the room and minimise his distress on the day itself.
Rob’s ISVA was instrumental in helping Rob to cope in the lead up to the trial and court hearing.
The day of the trial arrived and Rob and his ISVA attended Crown Court where Rob gave evidence from behind a screen in the witness stand. After a short deliberation the jury found the defendant guilty and he was given a custodial sentence.