Domestic Abuse Best Practice Framework Extended Across England and Wales

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Family

Prosecution rates have improved by nearly 10% using techniques developed in pilot projects over the past two years in London, Nottingham and Yorkshire since 2016.

The measures set to boost conviction rates will now be adopted nationally by the CPS across England and Wales starting January.

The new scheme, known as the domestic abuse best practice framework, provides extra support to victims including:

  • Enables witness’s to give evidence behind screens
  • Allows victims to visit court before a trial begins, to familiarise themselves with surroundings
  • Provides separate court house entrances for victims and offenders wherever possible
  • Childcare facilities
  • Support from an independent domestic abuser advisor IDVA

The schemes rollout is set to be announced at a law enforcement conference in Birmingham on Tuesday before Christmas and the new year- which tends to be the busiest periods for domestic violence.

Last year, the CPS Direct, the prosecution department which liaises with police took 592 calls from officers seeking charging decisions on Christmas Day. Approximately 68 calls an hour were received. Last year’s New Year’s Day received 914 calls from police seeking charging decisions, with the call rate reaching 76 an hour.

The scheme provides victims of domestic abuse with much better support through the justice system, and is having an impact on guilty pleas, conviction rates and also reducing the number of cases failing due to victim and witness reluctance to participate.

  • In London, Highbury Court, the CPS found a 7.9% rise in the rate of early guilty pleas, and an overall 8.2% rise in conviction rates.
  • In Nottingham, a 9.5% increased rate of convictions after trail was recorded.
  • In Yorkshire, a 4.1% fall in the attrition rate of victims dropped out of prosecutions due to them being unhappy with proceedings.

The CPS and police likewise are fully committed to taking practical steps to help victims and witnesses of domestic violence through the difficult experience of becoming involved with the criminal justice process.

Although challenging, the justice system is making it easier for victims to come forward and be better protected in the future. The role of both the CPS and the police is to protect and support both victims and witnesses, and deliver justice.

Our solicitors have expertise and specialist qualifications in dealing with such issues. These cases are always extremely complex, emotionally traumatic and distressing for any victim or witness to go through.

At Ison Harrison, we are able advise on domestic abuse including honour based violence, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and all matters involving children. If you require any more information, email myself Parveen Ahmed on parveen.ahmed@harrisonbundey.co.uk or alternatively call 0113 200 7427.  

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