SafeLives response to new CPS data
Today’s CPS data release which shows yet more steep falls in the number of receipts, charges, prosecutions and convictions is very worrying. Despite welcome assurances that perpetrators of domestic abuse will be brought to justice if victims come forward, the data sadly shows that cases are simply not making it through to court and even if they do, perpetrators are walking away. We renew our calls for all police first responders and CPS staff to receive domestic abuse cultural change training – half of English and Welsh forces still haven’t been trained to understand coercive and controlling behaviour, even though the legislation introducing the offence is five years old.
We note too that 51% of non-convictions are due to victim attrition – many victims walk away because they are intimidated or threatened by the perpetrator, or because they find it too traumatic. Support from a specialist Idva walking alongside the victim through the whole process has been proven to decrease attrition rates, yet we still need at least an additional 300 Idvas in England and Wales to meet demand. Commissioners of Idva services must ensure that they fund a service that supports victims through the whole journey, including navigating the criminal justice system. We hope that the Victim’s Funding Strategy recognises the benefit that fully funded Idva services across a multi-year period could have on CJS outcomes.