Domestic abuse: Prosecutions fall despite rise in recorded crimes

New data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that, in spite of domestic abuse-related recorded crimes rising, the number of resulting prosecutions fell.

This fall in prosecutions continues the decreasing trend which has been seen since 2017. Specifically, the number of domestic abuse-related CPS prosecutions in England and Wales has decreased each year since the year ending March 2017, from 93,593 to 53,207 in the year ending March 2022; a 43.2% decrease.

What’s more, the percentage of prosecutions leading to a conviction decreased for the first time since the year ending March 2015, to 76.4% in the year ending March 2022; a decrease of 1.7 percentage points compared with the previous year.

This comes despite the police recording 910,980 domestic abuse-related crimes in England and Wales in the year ending March 2022; a 7.7% increase compared with the previous year, continuing an increasing trend that the ONS say may reflect increasing willingness of victims to report crimes.

The charging rate also increased year-on-year for the first time in four years to 72.7%.

Yet, the number of arrests is down from 32.6 per 100 domestic abuse-related crimes in the year ending March 2021 to 31.3 in the year ending March 2022.

The number of referrals of suspects of domestic abuse-flagged cases from the police to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision in England and Wales also fell from 77,812 in the year ending March 2021 to 67,063 in the year ending March 2022, mirroring the decrease in arrests.

The average number of days to charge domestic abuse-related cases in England and Wales increased for the fourth year running to 23.8 in the year ending March 2022.

As to the overall picture, the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated that 5.0% of adults (6.9% women and 3.0% men) aged 16 years and over experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022; this equates to an estimated 2.4 million adults (1.7 million women and 699,000 men).

A striking one in five adults aged 16 years and over (10.4 million) had experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16.

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline delivered 50,791 support sessions through phone call or live chat in the year ending March 2022, a similar number to the previous year.

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