Figures released by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) today show a rise in the number of prosecutions related to violence against women and girls (VAWG) in England and Wales last year.
The number of VAWG crimes prosecuted in 2015-16 rose from 107,104 in 2014-15 to 117,568 – a 9.8% increase and the highest level ever recorded. The number of convictions is also at a record high, rising by 10.8% from 78,773 in 2014-15 to 87,275 in 2015-16.
Victim Support received 332,000 referrals for domestic abuse cases during the same period (2015-16).
Commenting on the findings, Lucy Hastings, director at Victim Support, said:
“While we welcome the increase in prosecutions and convictions for violence against women and girls, it’s concerning that there has been a slight decrease* in the number of referrals from the police to the Crown Prosecution Service – a possible indication that fewer victims feel able to come forward.
“We know from supporting thousands of victims each year that sexual offences can have a devastating and long-lasting impact on people’s lives. It’s vital that victims who do come forward are given the support they need and respect they deserve at every stage of their journey through the criminal justice system.
“We also know that only one in five people abused by their partner will report the crime to the police, so it’s important that victims are aware of the support that is available, whether or not the crime has been reported. Anyone affected by crime can contact Victim Support for free and confidential support, regardless of whether the police are involved or when the crime took place. Call our Supportline for free on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit our website at www.victimsupport.org.uk.”
The report also reveals that more than 200 cases of revenge porn were prosecuted in England and Wales last year.
Revenge porn became a criminal offence in April 2015 and refers to sharing sexually explicit images or videos of a person without their consent, with the intention of causing them harm or distress. Victim Support believes that victims or revenge porn should be granted the same anonymity as victims of rape and other sexual offences. Without anonymity, victims may be caused further distress and embarrassment, and the prospect of details being reported in the media could act as a significant deterrent to reporting.
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If you’ve experienced crime, you can contact us for free and confidential information and support. It doesn’t matter when the crime took place or whether it’s been reported to the police – we can support you for as long as you need.
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*Referrals to the CPS decreased by 3.3% in 2015-16.