Published: 8 July 2014
The Crime Prosecution Service have revealed that domestic abuse cases now account for more than 10% of their work load, which is an increase of 8.9% from last year - and at an all-time high.
The figures, released at the Women's Aid annual conference on 2nd July 2014, revealed that the number of domestic violence incidents referred by the police increased by 17.5% over the past 12 months, taking it to a total of 103,569 referred incidents. The figures also revealed that there were 60,000 more cases brought to trial then the previous year, with the number of convictions rising by 0.3%.
Speaking at the conference, Director of the Crime Prosecution Service Alison Saunders said, "Taken as a whole, referrals from police are up, prosecutions are up, and convictions are up. This is in no small part due to the leadership shown by dedicated specialist coordinators in every CPS area and the determination of our prosecutors and case workers to see justice done for victims of crime."
Whilst the figures show some progress towards tackling domestic violence, more needs to be done to encourage victims to come forward to receive the help and support they need, as statistically, two women are killed every week in the UK by their current or former partners.
The reality is that many women who are victims of domestic violence and abuse are too frightened to come forward, which means that there are still a large number of perpetrators that go unpunished for their crimes, leaving them free to repeat their offences as they move from relationship to relationship.
The Chief Executive of domestic violence charity Refuge, Sandra Horley CBE said, "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."
The timing of this announcement at the Women's Aid annual conference is rather poignant, as we reported in a previous blog that the number of domestic violence claims rise dramatically during a World Cup, especially when England lose.
A report published by Lancaster University looked at the number of domestic violence claims across and 8 year period that spanned three World Cup tournaments - 2002, 2006 and 2010. The research highlighted that domestic violence claims rose by 26% after an England match where they drew or won - and an even bigger increase of 38% after they had lost.
In their assessment of the research, The team behind the study said, "The tournament is held in the summer and is associated with warmer temperatures, increased alcohol consumption and brings individuals in closer proximity to others. Although it is difficult to say the tournament is a causal factor, the prestigious tournament does concentrate the risk factors into a short and volatile period, thereby intensifying the concepts of masculinity, rivalry and aggression."
If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence or abuse then K J Smith Solicitors can help. Our compassionate team of family law experts have many years of experience in dealing with relationship and family break downs that were as a result of domestic violence. If you wish to talk to us about your situation, get in touch with our team to arrange a free consultation on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 0118 418 1000 (Reading), 01753 325000 (Windsor) or 020 7070 0330 (Central London).