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Domestic violence figures are only the “tip of the iceberg”

DPP announces improved conviction rates but confirms that more needs to be done to protect victims and prosecute offenders

The latest statistics published by the Crime Survey for England & Wales indicated that 1.2 million were victims of domestic violence and that fewer than 1 in 4 people who suffer abuse actually report it.

In frank interview on Radio 4's Today programme, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer emphasised that whilst the 4 year Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy launched by the Crown Prosecution Service had yielded an increase in the numbers of successful prosecutions, there was no room for complacency.

Over 3000 Crown prosecutors in England and Wales have received specialist training on how to handle cases involving domestic violence.  Mr Starmer considers that this specialist training, better Guidance, use of specialist prosecutors and a greater understanding of victims helps to explain the increase in the number of successful convictions.

Last year in England and Wales there were 91,000 prosecutions and 52,000 convictions

Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of the National Domestic Violence Charity, Refuge, made the point that for a variety of reasons a huge number of domestic abuse cases are never reported to the police and consequently never reach the courts.  Some women are still too frightened to come forward. She went on to say that in those cases where the victims do report domestic violence the police response is often woefully inadequate.

For the interview with the DPP and Sandra Horley on Radio 4's Today programme on 23 July 2012 click here (starts at 2:10:00)