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Guidance to Help Prosecutors Spot Signs of Domestic Violence

The Crown Prosecution Service has produced new draft guidance  explaining the potential impact of domestic abuse on different groups, to help prosecutors adopt a tailored approach that takes into account each particular group’s support needs.

Measures included in the proposed guidance that prosecutors would need to consider when handling teenage domestic abuse cases include:

  • Prosecutors making enquiries with police about a victim's family life should assess whether telling their parents about any potential prosecution might have an impact on their safety.
  • Consideration of relevant bail restrictions and restraining orders taking into account areas the victim frequently visits, such as school or social clubs, and methods of contact, such as social media.

The proposed guidance also sets out the ways in which domestic violence can impact on elderly people:

  • Abuse may be triggered or intensify as a result of events occurring later in life, such as retirement. Previous research has shown that abusive relationships often intensify at retirement, as partners spend more time at home together
  • Another common example of a change in dynamics that might result in partner abuse is the ill-health of the victim, whether physical or mental, and abuse may begin as a result of 'care-giver' stress or anxiety.
  • Older people may also have different reasons for not reporting abuse committed against them, for example lack of financial independence or health concerns. They may also be more concerned about protecting the sanctity of marriage and not wanting to involve outside parties in their private affairs.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, said:

"We must recognise that domestic violence is not just about physical violence, but includes psychological, sexual, financial and emotional abuse experienced by victims from all walks of life, at different stages in their lives.”

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