A new research report commissioned by the Crown Prosecution Service suggests that domestic abuse victims who are supported by Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) and who report abuse to the police, are more likely to experience a cessation of abuse if a decision to charge the alleged offender is made.
The research was undertaken by the national domestic abuse charity Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA) as part of its Insights outcomes measurement service.
The report shows that the proportion of victims experiencing a cessation of abuse increases at each stage of the criminal justice process. The most significant cessation of abuse occurs when a decision to prosecute an alleged offender has been made, with 72% of victims in this category reporting no further abuse once a charge is recorded.
The report demonstrates that:
- In cases where there was a decision to prosecute, 62% of victims were suffering severe levels of violence at the point of intake to the IDVA service.
- Whilst continuing to court did not have a further significant impact on cessation of abuse, a greater proportion of victims did report improvements in their feelings of safety, quality of life and confidence to access support following the continuation of a case to court.
- In almost half (42%) of prosecutions, there was also a restraining order applied for and granted. At exit, those victims who were granted a restraining order were less likely to report severe physical abuse or jealous and controlling behaviours, and were more likely to experience a complete cessation of all abuse types.
- The research also showed that Specialist Domestic Violence Courts (SDVC) achieved better outcomes than other courts, and that cases heard in an SDVC were more likely to result in a conviction.