The number of prosecutions for domestic violence is expected to approach 90,000 by the end of the financial year in April.
If the estimation proves correct, the number of prosecutions conducted this year will exceed the 2012-13 figure by more than 19,000.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced the estimated total in the wake of new guidance on the prosecution of domestic violence, which came into force on December 30. According to the CPS, the updated guidance highlights the various ways in which domestic abusers can exert control over their victims, without necessarily committing a physical assault. Examples include making threats, controlling access to the phone, and involving the children.
The guidance notes that domestic violence can occur in all communities and to both genders and says that prosecutors should not make assumptions based on stereotypes related to the parties’ age, appearance, or gender.
The CPS guidelines were drawn up following a three month public consultation. They include a number of new measures, such as an outline of the various reasons apparent victims may withdraw allegations, a new focus on domestic violence in ‘black and minority ethnic’ communities, and a look at the ways in which domestic abusers sometimes present themselves as victims.
Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions. She said:
“Magistrates and prosecutors across the country are telling me that the biggest change they are seeing in the Magistrates’ court room is the increase in domestic abuse cases. This shifting caseload is a real challenge for the CPS but it is a challenge that we are preparing to meet.”
In December Home Secretary Theresa May announced plans to criminalise the use of ‘coercive control’ in relationships.
Read the new guidelines here.