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Prosecutors and police must protect women in the home

The Director of Public Prosecutions has said that women in England and Wales are still more at risk of crime in their own homes than anywhere else. Speaking at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) headquarters in central London, Keir Starmer QC said domestic violence is a "serious and pernicious" form of crime and that while much progress has been made in prosecuting offenders in recent years, police and prosecutors must do more to tackle it.


Recent statistics show that nearly one million women are abused every year, two are killed every week by partners or ex-partners and more than half of all victims of serious sexual assaults have been attacked by partners or ex-partners. Figures also show that young women between the ages of 16 and 19 are the most at risk of domestic abuse (12.7% according to the British Crime Survey).


"The entire criminal justice system has taken some great strides in recent years,” said Keir Starmer “including the training of all prosecutors in handling domestic violence cases; the setting up of specialist courts; and the creation of independent advisors for victims. We have seen the conviction rate for domestic violence offences rise from 49% in 2002 to 72% today, but domestic violence is still endemic in our society and we must take further steps to stop it.”


To that end, the CPS will be working with the Association of Chief Police Officers to produce guidance for police officers and prosecutors across England and Wales on what evidence should be gathered and provided to the CPS in every domestic violence case. Where police and prosecutors are already using this best practice when gathering and using evidence, convictions rates have increased significantly. Prosecutors will also be encouraged to make better use of victim support services.

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