Mersey Cheshire CPS leads the way on convictions for violence against women and girls

10/07/2014

The Crown Prosecution Service in Mersey-Cheshire is the most successful area in the country for securing convictions in cases of violence against women and girls.

 A new national report by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) says the area secures guilty verdicts in 79.7% of these cases, which include rape, sexual assaults and domestic violence.

The statistics also reveal that the area has the best conviction rates for rape and sexual assaults, when these offences are looked at separately.

Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Mersey-Cheshire, Claire Lindley, said: "This area has been a trail-blazer in the prosecution of violence against women and girls.

"In 2010, we created the country's first ever units dedicated to the prosecution of rape and sexual offences.

"In these units, specially trained lawyers and police officers work together on both recent and non-recent cases of rape and sexual abuse.

"This close working relationship is undoubtedly one of the reasons why we have the best conviction rate in the country for these offences.

"We also have a specialist Domestic Abuse team of trained advocates and dedicated preparation lawyers who are experts in dealing with the more complex dynamics of Domestic Abuse.

"Liverpool and Knowsley also has a specialist court which is dedicated to hearing domestic abuse cases.

"We have gone a long way to dispel the myths and stereotypes that surround these sorts of offences and offer support to victims through the justice system."

Merseyside's Police and Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, welcomed the report's findings.

She said: "These figures demonstrate that prosecutors in Merseyside are leading the way nationally in securing guilty convictions for those perpetrating violence against women and girls.

"The fact that this region has the highest conviction rate of any area in the country sends out a clear message that these types of crimes will not be tolerated on Merseyside.

"CPS prosecutors in Merseyside should be applauded for their hard work, commitment and dedication in ensuring that those who abuse and harm girls and women in our region are sentenced and very often put behind bars.

"This success is also thanks to the innovative work to tackle this type of offending that has been going on in the region for many years from having the first ever units dedicated to the prosecution of rape and sexual offences, to having specially-trained lawyers and police officers and dedicated domestic abuse advocates and preparation lawyers.

"There is also some great partnership working going on in the region to ensure all the agencies involved with fighting crime and increasing community safety are pulling together to put victims at the heart of all our work."

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the head of the CPS, told a Womens Aid conference that the conviction rate for domestic violence is higher than ever.

The report's figures show that three quarters of people who are prosecuted for domestic violence offences are now convicted.

Alison Saunders said: "I am incredibly proud of what the CPS has achieved in recent years in tackling violence against women and girls. Taken as a whole, referrals from police are up, prosecutions are up, and convictions are up.

"This is in no small part due to the leadership shown by dedicated specialist coordinators in every CPS area and the determination of our prosecutors and case workers to see justice done for victims of crime."