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Domestic Violence

Volume 519: debated on Tuesday 30 November 2010

1. What plans the Crown Prosecution Service has to increase the effectiveness of prosecution policy in respect of domestic violence. (27076)

The Crown Prosecution Service has an effective domestic violence prosecution policy, with a 29% increase in the number of prosecutions over the past four years and successful outcomes rising from 65% to 72%. In saying that, I recognise the work put in by my predecessors in this office in trying to raise the profile of that appalling crime. The CPS keeps its policy under review and in September 2010 it published guidance on prosecuting stalking and harassment. In January 2011 the CPS will introduce a new local assurance system to support the conduct of domestic violence prosecutions.

Given the 24% reduction in the Law Officers’ Department’s expenditure, will the Attorney-General confirm that he believes that the CPS has the resources that it requires to deliver effectively the violence against women strategy developed by the Labour Government?

Yes, I can. There is no intention of diminishing that strategy in any way and it will remain a major priority of the CPS.

Women’s refuges provide not only a safe place for women and their children, but a valuable service in the prosecution of men who have committed offences of violence against women. Will the Attorney-General do all he can to ensure that local authorities do not cut funding for women’s refuges, given the service that they provide?

I certainly share my hon. Friend’s concerns that that area should remain a priority for local authorities. In each case, they will have to adjust their expenditure to the financial constraints upon them, and I am sure that one of the most important things will be for people, such as my hon. Friend and other Members who are aware of the good work in that area, to make those representations quite clear to their local authorities as well as the importance that they attach to them.