I have been specially trained to work with the victims of crime even if investigations are ongoing or a court case is waiting to be heard or if investigations are ongoing. Specialist training is required to ensure that therapy work does not later have an impact on the admissibility of evidence. If a decision has been made not to report a crime then this service is not necessary.
How are crime victims supported?
In the first session the ground-rules for pre-trial therapy are set out and formally agreed. A plan of action is then agreed and this will include agreeing the therapeutic approach to be used. Sometimes CPS (Crime Prosecution Service) agreement may be needed before proceeding.
Are there limits to what we can talk about?
There are. We are not able to directly address the reported incident. You are asked not to talk in detail about your testimony with anyone before giving evidence in court – that includes therapists. This is because therapy could be viewed as a means of coaching a victim to recall events in a particular way. So anything contained in the original statement to the police cannot be discussed.
So what can be done?
I have a lot of therapeutic tools from a number of disciplines to call upon to help you to feel better and cope more effectively. You will be taught a wide range of coping skills to help you to move forwards with your life whilst waiting for the legal process to unfold.
Will my patient notes be used in court?
This is unlikely and since matters relating to the case are not going to be discussed. Very occasionally a therapist may be called upon to make a statement in terms of the level of distress caused.
Are you able to treat PTSD?
Yes, PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) is still treatable, at least to some extent. The final resolution of any remaining trauma issues would be undertaken when the incident can be discussed directly. This would generally be after the trial or as agreed with the CPS eg if a guilty plea is entered.
What types of crime are supported?
Any crime where the victim is likely to be called as a witness, or in cases where a witness has been traumatised by what they saw. This includes crimes such as domestic violence, assault, grievous / actual boldly harm, rape and sexual assault.