FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Been accused of such crimes causes so many questions. Some, sadly will go forever unanswered.

Here we have a list of FAQs we get in our private Facebook group. If you can’t find the answers you are looking for please join us in the group or contact us directly.

*it must be noted that these answers may not be valid in Scotland or Northern Ireland. Please ensure you seek legal advice if located in these regions.

Arrest records can be deleted but it is very rare as it requires a strong proof of innocence. Applications can be made to delete the arrest record by contacting ACRO. Such applications are most often successful in cases of mistaken identity. .

There is no procedure to request that fingerprints are deleted following an NFA. This is done automatically when the computer is updated to NFA. The Police make an application to the Biometrics Commissioner within 28 days for this not to happen. However, this is rare.

Even on legal aid attending your court case can be expensive. With the level of historic allegations attending your trial can often mean travelling miles from home, having to pay for accommodation.

Even if the trial is just but a few days this can add up to a few hundred pounds very quickly. If it’s one of the longer trials of 2 or 3 weeks you are very quickly looking at a lot of money.

It is advisable from the time your case arrives at the court you start to keep records and receipts of your expenses. When you are acquitted of all your charges many of these (in line with the rules) can be claimed back from central funds.

Be sure to tell your barrister that when the not guilty verdict is returned you wish them to apply for a defendants cost order (DCO).

Often throughout the allegation and processes funds become very difficult. Many people loose income. Whilst this maybe the furthest thing from your mind ensuring you apply and receive your costs can be a big help to getting your finances back in order post trial.

Some of the things you can claim are as follows:

• Travel to / from court (bus/train/air/mileage)

• Parking• Subsistence (meals)

• Accomodation

If you are funding your legal case privately the DCO can also cover recovering some of those legal fees that you have also spent. However, it is unlikely that you will recover your full legal fees. To recover legal costs you must have applied for and been refused legal aid. If you were eligible for legal aid and then chose to fund your case privately you will not be eligible to recover any legal fees either.

Everyone is entitled to free representation at the police station. This can be either under arrest or attending for a voluntary interview.

Following the interview there is no legal aid available until such a time as you are (hopefully not) charged. Any legal services you wish to use (for example pre-charge representation) in order to assist the closure of your case will need to be paid for directly.

If you are in the unfortunate position that you then get charged the option of Legal Aid then returns. The majority of people are entitled to Legal Aid to one degree or another.

Legal aid doesn’t always mean free legal services. Legal aid can also be a reduced fee legal services. It is means tested. However most average earners are entitled to either free or reduced fee legal aid. It is important that you supply your solicitor with all the relevant information upon request promptly in order that your claim for Legal Aid can be assessed.

Generally yes, although the press are not allowed to report any matter likely to identify the complainant in most proceedings concerning sexual offences. This restriction continues for the lifetime of the complainant, unless lifted by order of the court. Such an order would only be made in limited circumstances. The defendant, if over 18, can generally be identified unless this would lead to identification of the complainant, such as when they are husband and wife.

A Facebook archive will provide a file with all of your messages – even between people you are no longer ‘friends’ with, photos and videos, profile information, etc. 

(This guidance is for a computer version of Facebook) .

On your Facebook page, click on the little down arrow that you use to Log Out and click on the Settings link just above Log Out. 

This will bring up your ‘General Account Settings’ page. Click on the link ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data’ underneath the General Account Settings’ box. 

This will display the Download Your Information page. Click on the green ‘Start My Archive’ button. 

You will be asked to re-enter your password and confirm your request. Facebook will then compile your data and send you a notification when it is ready for you. Select the notification to display the Download page and click on Download Archive. You will have to enter your password again then your archive will be downloaded to your computer. When the download is complete a new window will pop up with the contents of your archive folder. It will usually be in your Download folder but it is a good idea to store it (or a copy) into a location where you can easily find it or even email it to someone you trust. You can hand this over to your solicitor who in turn will advise the right time to hand a copy to the Police.

Although GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) does not fully apply to police investigations you can make a Subject Access Request to the Police force that was investigating the accusation. Each force has its own web page where you will find the details to make this request. However, expect any response you do receive to be heavily redacted. The redactions will mainly be to remove details about other people.

How to save your chat history

Your WhatsApp chats are automatically backed up and saved daily to your phone’s memory. Depending on your settings, you can also periodically back up your WhatsApp chats to Google Drive. If you uninstall WhatsApp from your phone, but don’t want to lose any of your messages, be sure to manually back up your chats before uninstalling. Or in the case of our group members need a full back up to keep safe. Once the backup is in Google Drive (or another back up location) you can attach to an email, send to yourself or another.

Back up chats

Go to WhatsApp > tap More options > Settings > Chats > Chat backup > BACK UP.

Export chat history

You can use the export chat feature to export a copy of the chat history from an individual or group chat.

  1. Open the individual or group chat.
  2. Tap More options > More > Export chat.
  3. Choose whether to export with media or without media.

An email will be composed with your chat history attached as a .txt document. which you can then send to yourself or another person for safe keeping. Repeat the process for each conversation.

This will be different for everyone. But, survive this you will. You won’t survive unscathed whatever the outcome of the legal procedures but survive you will. Please know that you are a valued person and you will get through it. Make sure you read through our Well-being section and our support section. No matter what stage you are at, even if it’s years after your false allegation our members in the Facebook group will be there to support you.

There is no way to predict this. You are at the mercy of the police who have very limited resources. If youa re very lucky and the false accusation is obvious it may take just a few weeks. However this is rare. The majority of decisions can take months, if not years to complete. It is very important that you look after your mental and physical self in this time. Take a look at our Well-being and support sections to find help during this time.

The vast majority of sexual offences have no time limit on when charges can be brought. You will regularly see in the media cases where the allegations were of offences a great many years ago. The prosecution are however entitled to bring such charges if they believe that there is a realistic prospect of conviction and that the prosecution is in the public interest. Instructing a good solicitor is important as their work will be key in making the best representations on your behalf.

Immediately seek legal representation. Engaging a professional with the expertise that you need and who will guide you through every step could result in a marked and crucial difference in the outcome of your case. See our section on police station representation and solicitors 

You are putting yourself at great risk if you do this without first speaking to a solicitor. If the police want to talk to you then you are entitled free of charge to have a solicitor present in questioning. Check the legal help section if you don’t already have a lawyer.

It is becoming more and more common for evidence of text messages and instant messaging to be relevant at trial. The police will often seize mobile phones and devices from a defendant so that they may be downloaded and any relevant messages or call data obtained. The defence will be entitled to access this material and they can consider instructing an independent expert to analyse the material should this be necessary. It is also possible that cell-site evidence may be relevant to show in which area a person’s mobile phone was located at the time of an alleged offence. Finally, if evidence of social media postings are available and considered relevant, these can also be used at trial.

The vast majority of sexual offences have no time limit on when charges can be brought. This is evidenced by the large number of cases currently before the courts concerning allegations of a historic nature. When a significant amount of time has elapsed since an incident is said to have taken place, this can cause difficulties in bringing the case to court. However, it does not prevent the case been brought. The prosecution are entitled to bring such charges if they believe that there is a realistic prospect of conviction, and a prosecution is in the public interest.

Putting it simply. No you should not, at least without the advice of a solicitor. The police are duty bound to investigate any report of a sexual offence. If you report people for making false rumours the police will need you to tell them what the rumours are. Once you have told them you have reported yourself for the content of the rumours and they must investigate. Police often view this “self reporting” as a sign of guilt effectively they will claim you were getting your story in first. If there are false rumours circulating about you and you know what it is the rumours are alleging then simply gather and secure any evidence you have that proves your innocence. Screenshot media, write a time line of your involvement with that person. Do not delete any media from your devices as this action when discovered by forensics may be viewed as suspicious. Identify a solicitor (see our Legal Help section) and contact them to advise them what is happening. They will not likely be able to do anything but remember for their name for if you are called in or arrested for questioning. Request this solicitor to the police to be present during questioning.

This subject often comes up in the group and quite often when one of us corrects that “their word” is in fact evidence and can be used. This often causes upset and heated debate. To this end we think that it is a good idea to try and explain why we do this.

Often members hold the belief that an accusers statement is hearsay evidence and that its not allowed.

Here we will try to explain the position and explain what you can do in the situation.

Firstly, when an accuser makes a statement saying “this happened to me” it is not hearsay. This is because it is the accuser saying it happened to them.

An example of hearsay would be where a third party who was not present made a statement saying “my friend told me this happened to them”.

We will always correct when a member states it is hearsay evidence. The reason for this is that you will continue with your case under a false impression. We have seen members expect to get NFA or Not Guilty on the sole fact that they believe it is hearsay evidence and it’s not allowed. Making sure a member understands that it is not hearsay evidence, that it is allowed and that it needs dealing with is very important to us.

Accused.Me.UK has always tried to give the best advice that we can. We try to deal with issues and answer questions based on what the law is and what the rules say. Often members are approaching a question based on what they (and probably most people) think that the law should be, and what is fair and unfair. Whilst this is OK it does not help if we do not correct wrong advice that is damaging, and get the correct answer out there. Maybe one day the law/rules could change, but for now we can only work with how it is.

To this end we need to make clear that where the Police have a statement from an accuser then this statement is the evidence. We understand that in some cases the content of such statements are lies. Nonetheless the Police do not know this and the statement when making a charging decision will be passed to the CPS who will read (or watch) the statement and based on everything else that they have (your interview, CCTV, etc) they will make a decision on whether to charge you or not.

If they decide to charge you then forming part of the documents that you will eventually receive will be copies of the statement(s) (maybe in the form of a transcript / a video statement) that the CPS will be relying on in order to obtain a conviction against you.

At trial, your lawyers will get to cross examine the accuser. As such your lawyer needs to be well prepared. It’s going to do no good to the case or your relationship with your legal team if you keep getting heated up stating things such as they can’t use it, it’s he said she said, it’s hearsay, get it thrown out etc.

The fact is that the judge is going to allow it and you and your legal team are going to have to deal with it.

The first recommendation is to get that statement (or transcript) and go through it word for word. Highlight any lies in it.

Then write down all the lies and next to the lie write the truth. If you have proof of the truth (messages, photos, etc) then attach them.

You’re not going to have evidence of all the truths, maybe in the same way as the accusers lies you may have no evidence of any of the truths. However next to their lies write your truth.

If it is a transcript that you are working from ask the solicitor to let you know when the video of the interview becomes available. You won’t be allowed a copy of this but you will be allowed to go to the solicitors office and watch it there. Just like with the transcript go through it. Whilst nothing may change in terms of the words watching and listening to tone and body language (especially if you know the accuser) may direct you to the lies. Bring any awkward moments for the accuser to the attention of your lawyers.

The more work that you do on this and bring to the attention of your lawyers the better. An accuser does not get to make their statements and walk away from it. Your right is to test their evidence and this is by them been cross examined in court. The more information regarding their lies and your truth that you can give to the lawyers along with your information regarding their personality and quirks will help your legal team build the best possible cross examination of the witness.

At Accused.Me we have many times heard of relationships between even the best lawyers and clients completely break down over this very issue. Clients demanding that the statements can’t possibly be used and that they should get the judge to throw the statements out, when the legal team can do no such thing. The only thing they can do for you is challenge the witness/accuser to the best of their ability in cross examination, and the more information and work you can supply to them to do this the better.

There are three main types of check. Basic, Standard and Enhanced. Only registered employers who fall into certain criteria are authorised to carry out checks on their employees either in their own right (as they carry out lots of checks) or through an umbrella checking company.

If an employer is not registered or eligible to be registered to carry out checks then they only really have one route to doing a check on you and that is with your co-operation and it is only the basic check. They may request that you apply for the basic check and supply them with the results. In most cases they are prepared to pay for this check and part of the online application you will carry out gives the option to pay later. By doing this you are supplied with a link to forward to the employer and they make the payment. When the check is complete it is sent to you alone for you to give to the employer.

So what do the checks show?

Basic checks – This will show only convictions and conditional cautions considered to be “unspent” under the rehabilitation of offenders act 1974.

Standard Checks – This will show both spent and unspent convictions along with cautions (non-violent and non-sexual convictions are weeded out from standard and enhanced DBS after 12 years if they did not result in prison or the sentence was suspended).

Enhanced Checks – This is the one that worries our members the most as not only does it show all of the same information from a standard check but it MAY include other intelligence/information held by local police forces that could be considered relevant for inclusion for the role that is been applied for.

So where you have been investigated for a crime and either the outcome is NFA (no further action) or the case makes it to court and you are acquitted this naturally is information that the police will hold about you in their intelligence systems. There is quite a lot that can be held in local intelligence systems such as fixed penalty notices, allegations and even information about people who you live with. This is information that is separate from what is held in the police national computer such as convictions etc.

The decision to supply information for an enhanced DBS is that of the police chief for the local police force area(s). They are guided not only by their own local guidelines but principally by the statutory disclosure guidance (1) and the quality assurance framework (2).

Before panicking about this it is always important to look at the numbers. The latest numbers I have been able to find show that in that year 3,715,222 enhanced DBS checks were carried out. Of these 1,153,353 of the applications were flagged for local police forces holding “intelligence”. However, only 9,626 applications included any of that further information held by local police forces. This means only 0.83% of the checks where there was further information did it make it on to the check for disclosure.

So, what can you do to help the situation. If you’re a member of our group then you likely already know that they will hold “intelligence” about you that will likely be considered for inclusion. So you can pretty much skip trying to find out what they hold. You already know to a sufficient enough degree what it is. If your not a member of our group and you are not sure but you are considering applying for a job that requires an enhanced DBS check then your best approach would be to make a subject access request to your local police force (and any police force areas you are previously linked to). The results of this subject access request will indicate if there is anything further that you need to do.

Police forces SHOULD contact you if they are considering including information in the enhanced check as other relevant information. They do not have to contact you but they should.

The first option, which we think is the better option is to do nothing and see what happens.

The second option, whilst feeling as though you are been pro-active and trying to get ahead really is a double edged sword!

On one edge with the knowledge the check is in the process and the knowledge they hold intelligence about you then you could contact the relevant police force(s) and ask them to allow you to make representations if they are considering including information about you. Again, they do not have to allow you to make the representations (most police forces do) but by you making this request may make them worried about a legal challenge if they do not.

The other edge of that same sword is that by contacting them and asking them to allow you to make representations could cause them to pay more attention to your file. When you consider in the latest figures we have police forces were dealing with 1,153,353 cases that were flagged (some of these needed to go to multiple police forces) then these are very busy departments. Given that only 0.83% resulted in been included it could be a risk to draw attention to yourself.

If it is decided (with or without your representations) to include other information on your DBS check then this certificate will be sent to you to give to your employer. There are lines of complaint to try and rectify the situation. There is an independent monitor and you can get further information about this process from the .gov website (3).

Our Conclusion – We would not recommend contacting the police to try and ensure that they allow you to make representations. We say this with the knowledge of the low inclusion rate and the fact that the majority of police forces, the majority of the time, contact you to allow you to make representations if they are considering the inclusion in your check. Contacting them and asking them to ensure that they do will only heighten their attention to your check and this is always a bad thing.

The chances are if you are one of the 0.83% that they are considering inclusion for then your representations at that level will likely fall on deaf ears. It is far better to sit it out and see what happens. The important safeguards of the dispute procedure will still be there for you if you are unlucky enough to be one of the few.

It’s always worrying and we have members who regularly need checks doing. They may have had multiple clear checks since their False Allegation but it still does not stop them worrying every time that they need one. We would recommend if you are category of worker that regularly needs to be checked to consider signing up to the DBS update service (4). For £13 a year you can keep a closer eye on your DBS checks.

  1. www.gov.uk/government/publications/statutory-disclosure-guidance/statutory-disclosure-guidance
  2. assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/295392/DBS_Applicant_s_introduction_to_QAF_March_2014.pdf
  3. www.gov.uk/report-problem-criminal-record-certificate/dispute-a-mistake
  4. www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service

It’s very important to understand that there is no way of knowing on which side your case will fall. It’s very easy to see the low percentage rate that we are about to give you and think you do not need to take action. YOU DO!. You need to prepare your defence. You need to make time lines, gather digital evidence, photographs, location data. Everything you can get your hands on that will be useful to your defence team IF you get charged for the false allegation against you.

That said in the year ending March 2021 the government data for crime outcomes for all sexual offences (including rape) was that 3.5% of offences reported resulted in a charge.

Begin compiling evidence as soon as possible. Many find the process therapeutic. 

Keep notes of every tiny detail that occurs to you. Note times and dates of everything. 

Develop a timeline for what happened when you have details of the accusation. Look for evidence of your whereabouts and your accuser’s whereabouts. 

Save letters, record telephone calls and even conversations with your False Accuser or people harassing you – even the police. Try to get hard copies of all information – encourage mail or email communications rather than telephone. Give a copy of everything to someone you trust – and your solicitor. In the remote chance of an accuser or a member of their family contacting you by phone – be ready and record the conversation – there is a smartphone app that enables this. 

Copy all electronic media. Save all text messages. Download all your Facebook activity and other Social Media. Facebook saves messages even if you’re ‘unfriended’. Take screenshots. Monitor Social Media activity of your accuser and their friends (without communicating with them). Take screenshots. 

A Solicitor would greatly benefit from a chronology of your relationship with the Complaint emphasising when and why you fell out, any reason for the timing of the allegation and motive for any false allegation. Provide evidence if you can. Evidence showing a friendly relationship after the alleged incident (s) such as messages or photographs are very helpful.

You should not enter the interview without a solicitor nor discuss any aspect of the case with the Police. Whilst silence maybe awkward it is the best thing for you. Beyond confirming your identity and any communication regarding your welfare (or the immediate welfare of others that you may have responsibility for).
Ensure the interviewing officer (or custody sergeant) is aware that you want a solicitor. If you don’t have a solicitor already lined up request the duty solicitor.
The police will want to put questions to you regarding the allegations.
Before you go into the interview you will have a conference with your solicitor. He/She may have obtained from the Police some information. You will discuss what you do and do not know about the allegations. The solicitor will then tell you the best advice for the situation.
No Comment – The solicitor may advise you to answer all questions as “no comment”.
Answer questions – They may advise to answer all questions honestly and to the best of your ability.
Prepared Statement – The solicitor may advise that a prepared statement is the way to go. They will help you with this. However, it maybe that they initially advise to answer “no comment” but then stop the interview to go away and prepare a statement.
The key is to stay calm and follow the advice of your solicitor. If your solicitor interrupts you from answering something stop talking immediately. There will be a reason to their actions.

NOW!!!!! The sooner you start this the better. As soon as you know there is an accusation against you. Make a time line of your history with the party accusing you. Secure by means of download and screenshots anything that may assist your defence. Do not delete anything from your devices doing so, if your phones end up been seized may look suspicious. Keep any evidence you gather in a safe place. We do advise with a trusted person in a different residence. Alternatively in cloud storage is good. You can turn the sign in credentials over to your solicitor. You could also email a copy to yourself. Simply put keep the evidence safe as you may come to depend on it.

Most people do not fully understand their rights or how to approach questioning. For many this will be the first involvement with law enforcement. Without expert assistance, something could be said or done that negatively affects your case. They will guide you through the process and make sure you understand everything. They will guide you to making decisions about if you should or should not answer questions. How to answer them is also important. Your solicitor will also be able to make representations to the police that may well be crucial in the outcome of the case.

It is rare for people to be fully aware of their rights. Without expert assistance, something could be said or done that negatively affects your case. A professional will guide you through the interview process so that you are informed in respect of making decisions about if you should answer questions and how to answer them. Having a legal professional with you at the police station also enables them to make representations early on to the police concerning bail and have the skill to negotiate the early resolution of your case where possible.

There is no way of knowing this. So many factors come in to play. The important things are to look after both your mental and physical Well-being. Have a look at our well-being section. It is also important to start work on your defence as outlined in other FAQs.
The chances of ending up at court are very low. Currently (2021) 3.5% of sexual allegations end up in court (government data).
However, this doesn’t mean you can relax. You need to work on your defence and continue to build and gather evidence until such a time as you are either NFA’d (no further action) or charged.