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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

April 2, 2008: More Specialist Domestic Violence Court Systems

The government has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the victims of domestic violence with the announcement of over 30 new specialist domestic violence court systems across England and Wales. This will bring the total number of such systems to 98.

Tackling domestic violence has been one of the government's priorities since 1997. Specialist domestic violence court systems are a fundamental part of efforts to improve the support and care provided for victims of domestic violence.

A multi-agency approach is central to their success: police, prosecutors court staff, the probation service and specialist support services work together to identify, track and risk assess domestic violence cases, support victims and share information so that more offenders are brought to justice. Amongst the pioneering features are:

  • specially trained magistrates in dealing with domestic violence
  • separate entrances, exits and waiting areas so that victims don't come into contact with their attackers
  • cases clustered on a particular day or fast-tracked through the system, limiting the likelihood of further incidents
  • tailored support and advice from Independent Domestic Violence Advisors

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith commented:

'Improving the support available to the courageous victims of these devastating crimes is crucial in encouraging people to come forward. The success and expansion of the Specialist Domestic Violence Courts system will ensure that we continue to bring more perpetrators to justice and improve the support and safety of victims.'

The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland QC said:

'The specialist domestic violence courts are a fundamental part of our effort to improve the support and care we provide for victims of domestic violence. We are committed to providing a first class prosecution service.

'By providing specialist training for prosecutors and better support systems for victims we are seeing a tangible difference in performance. In the last four years we have seen marked success - and we need to keep aiming higher.

'Perpetrators must be brought to justice, and when they are our specialist prosecutors and support services will be there to assist victims every step of the way.'

In a review of the first 23 specialist domestic violence court systems systems published earlier this year, it is clear that they have contributed to improvements in both justice and safety for domestic violence victims. Ten of those achieved a successful prosecution rate of over 70%, with one reaching over 80% and the remaining 12 achieving an average rate of 66%.

Other key findings of the Review, conducted jointly by the Crown Prosecution Service, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, which analysed the data and performance of the 23 specialist domestic violence court systems in England and Wales from October 2006 until March 2007 are:

  • An improvement in the responses of individual agencies: in relation to the police, a high level of domestic violence crimes being arrested (an average of over 80%);
  • Just under 6,000 victim referrals were made to Independent Domestic Violence Advisers - an average of 269 referrals per IDVA service;
  • Around three-quarters (74%) of clients involved in the court process were supported by Independent Domestic Violence Advisers at court