Specialist courts offer better support

Specialist domestic violence courts provide better support for
victims and more effective ways of dealing with domestic violence
and should be extended to work in crown courts, a new independent
report concludes.

Five of the special courts have been running at magistrates’ courts
in Cardiff, Derby, Leeds, Wolverhampton and Hammersmith for between
six months and four years.

The report, commissioned by the Crown Prosecution Service and the
Department for Constitutional Affairs, examines 216 cases involving
domestic violence in the magistrates courts and finds that victims
were highly satisfied with the advice and support they received.

There was also some evidence of increased guilty pleas in the
courts when the victims were supported.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, communities minister Margaret Curran has
launched the first national training strategy for professionals who
work in personnel or front-line services so they can identify and
deal sensitively with victims of domestic abuse.

The strategy is backed by an initial £2.1m for the creation of
three new national posts based within the Scottish executive and
Scottish Women’s Aid. Their job will be to implement training
strategies for doctors, housing officers and frontline

– Evaluation from www.cps.gov.uk

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