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Violence Against Women and Girls

Volume 623: debated on Thursday 16 March 2017

4. What steps the Crown Prosecution Service is taking to increase the number of prosecutions for violence against women and girls. (909274)

5. What steps the Crown Prosecution Service is taking to increase the number of prosecutions for violence against women and girls. (909276)

The CPS is prosecuting and convicting more defendants of domestic abuse, rape, sexual offences and child sexual abuse than ever before. Under the cross-Government violence against women and girls strategy, the CPS has committed to a number of actions between now and 2020 to ensure the effective prosecution of these offences.

What is the CPS doing in the Derbyshire area to ensure that more perpetrators of violence against women and girls are brought to justice?

I know that my hon. Friend has a great interest in and concern about these serious matters. I am happy to tell her that in the last year, 1,805 cases were charged by the CPS—a rise to 70.6% compared with the figure for the previous year—and 1,867 cases resulted in a conviction. The conviction rate in Derbyshire is running at 4.4% higher than the national average.

In Cambridgeshire in 2015-16 there was an increase in the number of convictions for violence against women and girls to 1,031. What is being done to use technology to improve the gathering of evidence for these crimes?

As my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General has just mentioned, the CPS and the police are embracing the use of technology. The use of body-worn cameras, which is being rolled out across the country, will transform conviction rates and the number of guilty pleas when the evidence is clear and overwhelming in these cases.

Much of the violence against women and children is caused by human traffickers. Does the Solicitor General welcome the announcement today of an investment of £6 million by the Home Secretary in fighting modern-day slavery? We are really leading Europe on this issue.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to link modern-day slavery with violence against women and girls. He knows from his leadership on this issue that if there is a co-ordinated approach to these problems, victims can be identified and perpetrators can be brought to justice. This is yet another welcome milestone along the road in our world leadership on these issues.