Report published on the service from the CPS to victims of domestic abuse
HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate publishes thematic inspection report
The UK’s HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) published a thematic inspection report on 30 March, on the service provided by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to the victims of domestic abuse.
The report assesses the handling of domestic abuse cases by the CPS and identifies compliance issues that the CPS should address. In addition, the report sets out six recommendations to enhance the prospects for success in domestic abuse cases.
The report found that local and national domestic abuse leads and staff working for CPS regional areas are committed to improving performance to achieve the best outcome for domestic abuse victims, but recognise that there is an increasing demand on their workloads. The CPS is currently working with the police on a joint plan to improve the handling of domestic abuse cases and the experience of victims, on a local and national level.
In terms of the issues identified, the report states that there is a need for the consistent consideration of all the relevant information at an early stage in the process. This includes the information provided on police risk assessments conducted with victims, and addressing whether cases can be progressed where the prosecution does not need to rely on the victim giving evidence in court, otherwise known as evidence led prosecutions.
The recommendations include that the CPS should improve key aspects of the quality of casework, that the CPS should provide better support, protection and engagement with victims, and that the CPS should deliver training to improve prosecutors’ knowledge and understanding of the impact of trauma on victims.
Commenting on the report’s findings, HMCPSI Chief Inspector, Andrew Cayley, said: “An estimated 2.4 million adults suffered from domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022 and domestic abuse accounts for almost 13% of the CPS’s overall caseload. It is a prevalent crime in our society and women and children are disproportionately the victims. It is right that we have made a rigorous assessment of how the CPS is performing in its prosecution of domestic abuse so that victims and the public can have confidence in the CPS’s approach to prosecuting cases of domestic abuse. Our inspection found that there is excellent work being carried out by dedicated and passionate CPS prosecutors and staff. But our report also shines a light on improvements that need to be made to ensure domestic abuse victims and survivors are properly supported and that outcomes improve.”