CPS Thames Valley achieves official Specialist Domestic Violence Court status

07/04/2008

CPS Thames Valley has recently been working closely with the Police, Court Service, Probation service and voluntary sector agencies involved with domestic violence to achieve official Specialist Domestic Violence Court status.

This is awarded when certain arrangements are in place that enhance the service given to victims of domestic violence throughout the prosecution process. 

Since December, all domestic violence cases, wherever possible, have been dealt with in a dedicated Court on a dedicated day each week. These courts can now be officially referred to as Specialist Domestic Violence Courts or SDVCs. 

Specialist domestic violence court systems are a fundamental part of the government's efforts to improve the support and care on offer to victims of domestic violence. A multi-agency approach is central to the success of these innovative courts: police, prosecutors court staff, the probation service and specialist support services work together to identify, track and risk assess domestic violence cases, support victims and share information so that more offenders are brought to justice. Amongst  the pioneering features are:

  • specially trained prosecutors, magistrates and Court staff in dealing with domestic violence
  • where practicable separate entrances, exits and waiting areas so that victims don't come into contact with their attackers
  • cases clustered on a particular day or fast-tracked through the system, limiting the likelihood of further incidents
  • tailored support and advice from Independent Domestic Violence Advisors

Head of Sensitive Casework Team Tracey Johnson-Brown said: "The aims of the Thames Valley SDVC projects are to provide a co-ordinated judicial response by Magistrates courts in Thames Valley to criminal proceedings involving domestic violence and for all Criminal Justice agencies and local partner agencies to work together to improve the provision of services to victims and witnesses of Domestic Violence.

"I am thrilled that the specialist courts that we have set up in Thames Valley have been found to meet the required criteria for SDVC status and I am grateful to all of my colleagues across the agencies but most particularly to our voluntary sector partners for their hard work and commitment to this project. I am confident that the service we provide to victims and witnesses of domestic abuse will improve as a result."

Notes to editors
1. The full list of the new selected specialist domestic violence court systems areas: Maidenhead Magistrates Court, Reading Magistrates Court, Newbury Magistrates Court, Milton Keynes Magistrates Court, Oxford and Southern Oxfordshire Magistrates Court

2. For further information, please contact Mel Bloor, Acting Area Communications Manager, CPS Thames Valley on 01189 513640.