While praising many aspects of how the Crown Prosecution Service deals with domestic abuse cases, His Majesty’s inspectorate for the CPS has recommended a series of improvements.
They include developing a consistent approach to trauma training in violence against women and girls (VAWG) casework, drawing on the knowledge of specialist VAWG organisations and focusing on how understanding trauma can improve the service to domestic abuse victims.
Also, the CPS has to communicate the need for prosecutors to review the risk assessment in all domestic abuse cases before completing the pre-charge decision, unless there are specific factors in a case where the decision to charge cannot be delayed.
In a foreword to the inspection’s report, Chief Inspector Andrew Cayley wrote: “There is no doubt the CPS takes its own policy around domestic abuse very seriously … The CPS is a driving force in work across the criminal justice system [CJS] to improve domestic abuse prosecutions and the service provided to victims.
“Charging decisions by the CPS are almost always correct in domestic abuse cases but our inspection also exposed that CPS casework quality needs improvement and the support for victims and survivors needs to be enhanced.”
Then he cautioned: “This support of course needs adequate funding. Only with adequate funding will victims of domestic abuse receive the best support they can within the CJS.”