Non-sexual child abuse covers a range of offending behaviour and types of offenders. Prosecutors should have regard to the context and circumstances in which the offending is alleged to have taken place, as this will identify the reasonable lines of inquiry, and determine how the evidential case should be built.
Children or young people who have been in the care of social services, or who have come to the attention of social services, will inevitably have a great deal of information about them contained within social services records compared to other children or young people. Every episode of misbehaviour, even of the most minor nature, is likely to be a matter of record. Most children misbehave, but not every child has their misbehaviour recorded. Victims who are, or have been, in the care of the social services should not be disadvantaged in the criminal process by this fact. Prosecutors should be prepared to address this issue as part of the presentation of the prosecution case.
Prosecutors should also have regard to whether there is any credible third party evidence to suggest that the complainant has malicious intent to make a false allegation. However, prosecutors should guard against looking for ‘corroboration’ of the victim’s account or using the lack of ‘corroboration’ as a reason not to proceed with a case.
Prosecutors must check with the police and the CPS Case Management System (CMS) to see whether there are any pending allegations involving the same victim or suspect(s).The check is to be endorsed on the file record to form part of the formal review. If there are pending allegations then the details should be obtained to see if there are any links or similarities to the on-going case.