Domestic abuse will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime. The government definition of domestic violence and domestic abuse is any incident, or pattern of incidents, of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse including physical, psychological, sexual, emotional and financial.
It has recently been shown that victims of domestic abuse are now being better supported and better protected by the police. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) published its third in a series of thematic reports based upon findings from 2016. This report shows that since the first report in March 2014 HMICFRS has found that the service provided by the police to victims of domestic abuse has unmistakeably improved.
The report notes statistics that In England and Wales the total number of reported domestic abuse crimes has increased from 353,063 in the 12 months to March 2015, to 434,095 in the 12 months to June 2016. This is extremely high and represents a 23 percent increase in only one year. For the 12 months to 30 June 2016, domestic abuse-related crime made up just over 11 percent of all recorded crime and represented 33 percent of all recorded crimes that involved assault with injury.
One possible factor relating to the increase of recorded domestic abuse is that police have been actively encouraging victims to report crimes. Officers seem to have a better understanding now of the importance of dealing with victims in a supportive and sympathetic way.
Although this improvement is great progress, the report still identified a number of areas where further improvement is required. These included:
- Ensuring consistent practices when assessing risk.
- Removing confusion concerning the police officer’s duty to take positive action when dealing with domestic abuse incidents and the role of arrest.
- Taking opportunities for investigators to build a sound case against the perpetrator whether the victim supports a prosecution or not.
- Sharing views with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on referrals and prosecutions.
- Understanding each element of its response to domestic abuse to help ensure that the police response is effective.
The need for consistent performance measures.
Jacksons’ family law team provides a sympathetic, but constructive approach to the sensitive issues surrounding family law, especially in cases where children are involved. With offices in Newcastle and Teesside we have specialists solicitors offering legal advice in all areas of the North East including Northumberland, Newcastle , Sunderland and Durham, to Teesside, Darlington and North Yorkshire.