Recently published figures indicate record prosecutions by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in relation to domestic violence crimes against women and girls.
107,000 prosecutions were made throughout England and Wales, an increase of approximately 18% on the previous year. The prosecutions include statistics of rape, sexual offences and domestic violence.
It has been widely recognised that the rise in figures is as a result of victims having increased confidence to come forward. Traditionally violence against women has been under reported but due to ongoing initiatives by the Police and prosecutors numbers are rising.
It is also believed that the increase can, in some part, be related to the use of the internet. Not only can the internet be used against victims it can also play a major part of evidence use against a perpetrator, with any online activity leaving a digital trace that can be used by the Police as evidence.
This is certainly a positive step and indicates significant progress. Hopefully these figures continue to increase and more victims of domestic violence have the reassurance and confidence to report an incident knowing that their voices will be heard.
In this weeks summer budget, George Osborne announced that £3.2m will be available to support women and children fleeing domestic violence. The vital next steps will be to ensure this money is used effectively and that continued national support is available to secure the long term initiatives that will not only assist victims today but will create a sustainable support infrastructure for the future. We must value the specialist domestic violence services in this country and set a blueprint for others to follow.