Convictions of domestic violence at record high

  • 10% of all CPS workload are taken up by domestic violence cases. Gavel 3

    The conviction rate for domestic violence cases has reached its highest ever level, with cases now making up 10.7% of the Crown Prosecution Service's workload, reports the Guardian.

    Figures show that referrals by the police to the CPS, prosecutions by the service and convictions have all risen in the past year.

    The volume of referrals by the police increased by 15,459 to 103,569 last year, a rise of 17.5%. A total of 72,905 cases were brought to trial in 2012/13, up from 60,000 the previous year. And 74.6% of those prosecuted for the crime were convicted in 2013-4, a rise of 0.3% since 2012/13.

    Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of anti domestic violence charity Refuge, said the CPS had made "much-needed" progressa but added: "There is no room for complacency. The conviction rate has risen by just 0.3% since 2012/13. The numbers of perpetrators prosecuted and subsequently convicted represents just the tip of an iceberg; 58,276 convictions sounds like a big number but when we consider that over a million women experience domestic violence each year, it is barely scratching the surface. Many women who do report domestic violence receive a very poor response from the police. HMIC's recent investigation made this crystal clear: it found damning evidence that the police response was 'not good enough' and that serious failings in policing were putting women and children at 'unnecessary risk'. All too often officers fail to take the allegations of abused women and children seriously. They fail to arrest and charge violent men. This means that only a fraction of domestic violence perpetrators are ever brought to justice."

    Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid, said it was vital that women experiencing abuse felt they would be taken seriously by the criminal justice system. "This increase in the conviction rate sends a strong message that the CPS is committed to ensuring victims get justice. It also signals to perpetrators that their behaviour is unacceptable and they will be held accountable," she said.

    Holly Dustin, director of End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: "We hope that in the long-term this will lead to what we all surely want - justice for survivors and a message to perpetrators that their crimes won't go unpunished. It's time for other critical agencies who could make a difference in the prevalence of abuse of women and girls in our society to step up to the standard the CPS is setting. If we saw this long-term commitment and strategy on education and media policy, we would see real change."

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