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Domestic Violence

Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps the Government has taken to increase conviction rates for domestic violence. (173715)

[holding answer 13 December 2007]: I have been asked to reply.

The National Delivery Plan for Domestic Violence has an objective to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence. This objective includes actions to increase reporting, arrests and conviction rates for domestic violence. Specific actions undertaken to increase the conviction rates for domestic violence include:

The continued expansion of the Specialist Domestic Violence Court (SDVC) Programme. From April this year, 64 SDVCs are operational, with more planned which will bring the total to over 100.

Guidance and training is being rolled out to all police officers and Crown prosecutors to improve investigations and increase successful prosecutions for domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Co-ordinators have been identified in all police force and Crown Prosecution Service areas to co-ordinate individual agencies’ responses to domestic violence.

Funding has been made available for Independent Domestic Violence Advisers, whose involvement with victims of domestic violence has been shown to reduce the number of victims unwilling to support a prosecution.

These steps are having a positive effect: successful prosecutions for domestic violence cases rose from 46 per cent. in a December 2003 ‘snapshot’ to 65 per cent. during the whole of 2006-07, exceeding the target of 64 per cent. By September 2007, successful prosecutions had reached 68 per cent.