Recently published reports show prosecutions by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in relation to domestic violence against females have reached record figures with more than 107,000 prosecutions made throughout England and Wales - an increase of approximately 18% on the previous year.
It is believed that the rise in reported cases of domestic abuse is a positive result of victims gaining the confidence to come forward and speaking out against their experience of domestic violence. It is thought that in the past domestic violence against women had been under reported but due to the welcomed improvements made by the Police and prosecutors more victims of domestic violence are willing to come forward and to rightly speak out.
The emerging crackdown on domestic violence led to the recent news of the Merseyside Police’s Protecting Vulnerable People Unit visiting homes of victims in the Merseyside area which resulted in 14 men being arrested accused of domestic abuse against partners or ex partners. The arrests included cases of rape, sexual offences and domestic violence including alleged offences of choking a woman in front of her children, sending threatening messages to an ex-girlfriend and coercing a partner in to non-consensual sex.
Furthermore, in a new pro-active initiative - the Police are to be given specialist training on how to deal with domestic abuse cases - which will enable officers to spot signs of domestic abuse and to ensure that the victims will receive the best support available. Police officers first on the scene, call handlers and counter staff are all to be given training on how to effectively deal with victims when they are contacted about domestic abuse.
With the proposed training initiatives it is hoped that more victims of domestic violence will feel secure enough to report incidents of domestics violence and they feel that they are heard, believed and treated with sensitivity and understanding.
Although these changes and initiatives are welcomed and it is hoped that this trend of increased support and understanding to domestic violence continues – it will always be the sole responsibility of the perpetrator to stop the abuse and the responsibility of the Police to bring the perpetrator to justice – the victim is not responsible for either.