New Police Powers To Tackle Domestic Abuse
Hampshire police can now take people to court for domestic abuse, even if the victim doesn't want to press charges.
It's all part of new changes which have just been brought in to try and reduce the number of repeat cases.
Many victims of domestic abuse are reluctant to help the police in pursuing criminal cases against violent partners, or even seek help at all.
Nearly a quarter of the cases reported to police are repeat offences.
These new measures introduce an enhanced criminal justice service in high risk cases to make sure that more is done now, to prevent repeat victims of the future.
This includes providing enhanced victim care and pursuing cases to court wherever possible, even when a victim may not want to. There are often many reasons why victims are reluctant to prosecute the perpetrator.
For example, they may fear that their actions will make things worse.
Hampshire Police say it's important to do everything they can to protect domestic abuse victims and help them break the cycle of abuse. For example, if a victim makes a statement but wants to withdraw it later, they will be visited by a trained member of the specialist Public Protection Unit Safeguarding Team.
Detective Chief Inspector Ben Snuggs said:
"We understand that victims are frequently most at risk from a coercive and controlling partner when they seek help, or try to end a relationship. Through this new, joint approach with the CPS we will make sure that victims are well supported, right from the moment they first call us to the conclusion of a trial. We will also prosecute cases wherever we can in order to help survivors of domestic abuse break the cycle of violence against them. ?We also work closely with many other agencies which support survivors of domestic violence in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Their work is critical in helping survivors know that they are not alone and in providing them with practical help, outreach and refuge."
John Montague, Senior District Crown Prosecutor for CPS Wessex said:
"The protocol recognises the complex dynamics of domestic abuse and attempts to develop a robust investigative and prosecution approach that is specifically focussed on high risk victims. It aims to reduce repeat domestic abuse offences by supporting high risk victims through the criminal justice process according to their individual needs."