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Uncertain approach to domestic violence ‘endangers victims’

An uncoordinated approach to domestic violence and similar crimes is placing victims at risk, police inspectors have claimed.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary is responsible for the assessment of police forces across the UK. In a new report, the organisation claims investigations into domestic violence and similar crimes are frequently approached in a poorly coordinated way and forces often do not appreciate those factors which some victims especially vulnerable.

The inspectors called for a widespread review of the issue and the provision of greater support to victim.

“The nature of vulnerability, in the context of a case progressing through the criminal justice system, is not understood clearly by the police and prosecutors. We consider that this is an opportune time to look in greater depth at the nature of vulnerability and identify what can be done to assist police and prosecutors to assess vulnerability in different contexts, and provide the support that vulnerable victims and witnesses require.”

The Inspectorate analysed 460 cases files from different forces across England and Wales. A total of 195 cases were found to involve victims thought to be especially vulnerable or prone to intimidation, and of these one fifth were victims of domestic violence. In 21 per cent of cases, the investigating police officers had made no attempt to determine whether the victims were especially vulnerable or prone to intimidation, the Inspectorate noted.

In 55 cases, meanwhile, the Crown Prosecution Service did determine that a particular victim was vulnerable but made no efforts to protect them.

Available protective measures include allowing the victim to give evidence behind a screen while in court, The Guardian reports.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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