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CPS launches new tools for prosecutors to tackle violence against women and girls


To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Sunday 25 November, the CPS has announced new tools for prosecutors to tackle domestic violence and stalking.

The CPS has produced, in partnership with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), a new checklist for police and prosecutors for use in cases of domestic violence. We have also updated our guidance to prosecutors to reflect the introduction of two new stalking offences and will soon be launching new training on cyber stalking.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, said: "Violence against women and girls is a key priority for the CPS and we have taken a number of steps to improve the prosecution of these types of offences. This includes a continued commitment to equip prosecutors with useful and relevant tools, guidance and training in order to enhance our ability to effectively prosecute people who commit these crimes.

"In domestic violence cases, we work hard to build the best case possible and it is vital that every opportunity to gather evidence is taken. We continue to improve our performance in achieving successful prosecutions of violence against women and girls with nearly three quarters of domestic violence prosecutions ending in a conviction last year."

The new checklist for domestic violence cases is designed to prompt police officers and prosecutors to take specific steps to promote thorough investigations, effective prosecutions and to help ensure victims receive the service they deserve. 

Speaking about the checklist, Mr Starmer said: "We are pleased to have created this checklist with ACPO so that both police and prosecutors can work together to further improve our performance in domestic abuse cases."

ACPO lead on domestic violence, Chief Constable Carmel Napier, said: "One in four women and one in six men experience domestic abuse in their life time. Domestic abuse ruins lives, in some cases it ends in homicide. The Joint CPS and ACPO domestic violence checklist will give officers the confidence that they are collecting all the evidence needed to support a conviction." 

In addition, we have updated our guidance to prosecutors to reflect the introduction of two new stalking offences to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. This will help prosecutors to bring the most relevant charges.

We will shortly also be launching new training for CPS staff specifically on cyber stalking. The training, one of four cyber security modules funded by the National Cyber Security programme, will enhance prosecutors' understanding of the range and elements of stalking offences committed online and how these cases should be presented in court.

Mr Starmer said: "Stalking, whether online or in any other guise, is an invidious crime that can have an overwhelming and often life shattering impact. We are determined to keep improving our performance in prosecuting stalking and harassment offences and that starts by ensuring all prosecution decisions are carefully considered and reflect the impact stalking has had on the victim. This is why we have introduced updated guidance and training to include the new offences." 

Kristiana Wrixon, the National Stalking Helpline Manager, added: "The National Stalking Helpline welcomes the updated Crown Prosecution Service guidelines for dealing with cases of stalking and harassment. The new stalking law can only help victims receive the justice they need if prosecutors fully understand this serious and life changing crime. We are pleased that the CPS recognises its vital role in helping victims of stalking and is also introducing new training to tackle the new threat of stalking offences committed online."


Notes to Editors

  1. The updated stalking and harassment legal guidance is now available on the CPS website.
  2. The checklist is available here.
  3. The new stalking offences, included in the Protection from Harassment Act (1997), are:
    • Section 2A - A course of conduct in breach of the prohibition on harassment in section 1(1) of the Protection from Harassment Act (1997) and the course of conduct amounts to stalking. 
    • Section 4A - A course of conduct which amounts to stalking and causes fear of violence or serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on the victims usual day-to-day activities.
    • The Act also provides a non-exhaustive list of examples of behaviour that are associated with stalking.
  4. Helpline numbers:

             National domestic violence helpline: 0808 2000 247
             Mens advice line: 0808 801 0327
             Broken rainbow: 0300 999 5428
             National stalking helpline: 0808 802 0300
             Childline: 0800 1111
             England 24-hour helpline 0808 200 0247
             Wales 24-hour helpline 08457 023 468
             Scotland 24-hour helpline 0800 027 1234
             Northern Ireland 24-hour free-phone helpline 0800 917 1414
             Republic of Ireland helpline 1800 341900