Categorized | Criminal Justice

Violence against Women and Girls

Violence against Women and Girls

The Crown Prosecution Service is prosecuting and convicting a record number of rape, domestic abuse, sexual offences and child abuse cases, a report published today shows.

The CPS’s annual Violence against Women and Girls report shows that rape, domestic abuse and sexual offences now account for 18.6 per cent of the CPS’s total caseload and this figure has been increasing year on year. In 2015/16, the CPS prosecuted 117,568 defendants for all crimes grouped together as Violence against Women and Girls (VaWG).

More than 100,000 defendants were prosecuted for domestic abuse, with over 75,000 convicted, the highest volumes ever recorded, reaching the highest ever conviction rate of 75.4 per cent by March 2016. In December 2015, the new offence of controlling or coercive behaviour also came into law, and statistics show there were five prosecutions of this offence completed by the end of March 2016.

Alison Saunders said: “Domestic abuse, rape and sexual offences now account for nearly 19 per cent of our workload – an increase over the past six years from just under 9 per cent. While the volume of these cases is increasing, the report also shows the volume of convictions has risen by 11 per cent.

“Today a rape, domestic abuse, sexual offence or child abuse case is more likely to be prosecuted and convicted than ever before.”
The DPP said that historical under-reporting of offences meant that the number of cases being charged was only a proportion of the offending taking place. She said that the ease with which such crimes could be committed online was contributing to the increase in prosecutions.

Other areas where online abuse is being used as a tool of harassment and intimidation are within the record numbers of stalking cases being taken to court. In 2015-16 the CPS prosecuted more cases of stalking and harassment – 12,986 – than ever before. Of those, almost 70% involved ongoing domestic abuse, and many perpetrators used the internet or other technology to carry out the offending.

There was a 32% rise, to 2,094 cases, of sending grossly offensive or indecent messages under the Malicious Communications Act, and a 20% increase to 2,026 in similar offending under section 127 of the Communications Act. The DPP said these cases related mostly to online abuse, or abuse via text, email and other forms of technology.

Saunders went on to say: “Over the last year, I have doubled the resources in specialist units that handle rape and serious sexual offence cases, including child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. Prosecutors have received detailed training including on vulnerable victims and the issue of sexual consent. Following this work we have seen a rise in the rape conviction rate to 57.9 per cent and, significantly, there has also been a fall in the number of acquittals after trial.”

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said: “Survivors of domestic abuse are starting to have more confidence in the criminal justice system, which is why we are seeing another rise in the volume of prosecutions and convictions. However, we know that much more work is still needed, particularly in understanding of the nature and impact of coercive control, right across the criminal justice system.”

The full text of the ‘Delivering Justice’ report can be found at:

http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/docs/cps_vawg_report_2016.pdf

This post was written by:

- who has written 462 posts on Upper Case – The Anya Legal Journal.

Mike Gribbin is a retired Civil Servant with wide experience, including the drafting and implementation of Parliamentary legislation and regulations. He is the editor of “Criminal Offences Handbook”, a uniquely comprehensive guide to more than one thousand ways to fall foul of UK criminal law. He is Editor of the Upper Case Legal Journal and has been writing blog posts for the past eight years.

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