Published: 1st July 2015
One of the main reasons for the record number of prosecutions and convictions is that victims feel they have the support and confidence to come forward, according to the report. However, the increased number of perpetrators may be down to the increasing use of the internet, which can act as a catalyst for VAWG related crime, with many victims being groomed online by social media, online chat rooms and dating websites.
Prosecutors said that it was common for victims to receive threatening messages and indecent images via the internet, however one positive from online-based abuse is that it is traceable and leaves behind a digital footprint that can be used as evidence by the police.
To tackle the increasing number of crimes that occur online, the CPS are revising their guidance to enable prosecutors to maximise the use of online evidence as well as reminding them that things like restraining orders that are issued in the 'real world' can also be applied online to stop offenders communicating with their victims over the internet.
The report also highlights changes to current legislation that has taken place over the report period, including updates to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for crimes involving sexual grooming and the exploitation of children and updates to the Serious Crime Act 2015 involving cruelty and neglect. The report also includes details of new legislation, for example, an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 involving revenge pornography, which is the new criminal offence of disclosing private sexual photographs and films without the consent of an individual who appears in them and with the intent to cause that individual distress.
Many campaigners and women's charities have backed the report, including the Chief Executive of Women's Aid, Polly Neate, who said that the report showed "significant progress" in bringing cases involving domestic violence in front of the courts.
"This progress must continue until we have a system where women who experience domestic violence have exactly the same level of confidence as victims of other crimes, that they are heard and believed, the system works for them and protects their human right to live free from violence," she said.
The full report can be access online via the Crown Prosecution Service website here.
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