New guidelines for spotting domestic violence against teenagers and the elderly proposed

News|May 15th 2014

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has proposed new guidelines to help spot signs of domestic violence against teenagers and the elderly.

Social media, gang culture and peer pressure are some of the things the new guidelines advise prosecutors to consider when dealing with cases involving teenagers.

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said that in a lot of cases, teenagers may not consider themselves to be victims of domestic violence if they are being targeted on social media.

She added:

“Abuse often takes place online in cases involving teenagers and young people. It is vital that this type of evidence is considered as part of any case and that both prosecutors and investigators adopt the full definition of domestic violence that includes non-physical abuse such as this.”

Saunders said a lot of domestic violence goes unreported by teenagers.

“Young people can also be reluctant to report abuse for fear of getting into trouble with their parents, being bullied at school or because they are scared of their abuser.”

The measures proposed in the new guidelines for dealing with cases involving teenagers include prosecutors working with police to determine whether informing the parents of any potential prosecution may put them in danger.

Saunders also emphasised the importance of adequate protections against domestic violence for elderly people, noting that “there is very little evidence that partner violence decreases with age”.

According to the new guidelines, on which public comment is being sought up to July 2014, common factors in domestic violence cases involving the elderly include changing in circumstances, such as retirement or ill-health.

The guidelines warn that elderly victims may have similar reluctance to coming forward about abuse as teenagers do, although the reasons are different.

Lack of financial independence, health worries, or simply not wanting outside parties involved in their private affairs were all reasons listed for such reluctance.

Diana Barran, Chief Executive of domestic violence support charity Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA), welcomed the proposed new guidelines.

“[The guidelines seek] to refine the response to address the needs of different groups of victims and recognises that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work. Prosecutors must balance criminal justice with protecting the victim, and this guidance will help them achieve this.”

The proposed guidelines can be read here.

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Comments(5)

  1. Kingsley Miller says:

    All, I am just a little concerned that the CPS are treating victims according to their gender and not equally before the law. I include this extract to reinforce my concern, kip;

    Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said: “We welcome this draft guidance and the consultation from the CPS, especially the recognition that domestic violence is, at its core, about power and control. We are pleased that the guidance would require prosecutors to take account of coercion and controlling behaviour alongside criminal offences. The CPS has a vital role to play in making sure women and children are not put at further risk as victims and witnesses, and ensuring that perpetrators can be prosecuted appropriately. We will be consulting our member organisations and survivors in our response to this consultation, and we encourage everyone who works with women experiencing domestic violence to comment.”

  2. sue says:

    Of course Womens Aid is for women. Its not only men who get stitched up. Women all over the world including the UK are assaulted then when they ask for help are completely ignored by those who should help including the police and social services. look up the number of cases where in care proceedings the children are given to the violent father on the grounds of a mother’s mental health which has been caused by the father

    • Luke says:

      Sue, the first thing to say is that we ARE talking about the UK, so I don’t know what country you are referring to – if it is to be considered as a credible point you would need to provide that.
      .
      The second thing is when you say:
      ———
      “look up the number of cases where in care proceedings the children are given to the violent father on the grounds of a mother’s mental health which has been caused by the father”
      ———
      .
      – that is a pretty remarkable statement – please provide the evidence for such a claim, saying ‘look it up’ doesn’t help, give us a link.
      .
      Thanks.

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