Criminal Justice domestic abuse pilot scheme launched - Bucks

18/12/2013

A scheme which will see criminal justice agencies working together to improve the service to victims of domestic abuse was launched on Monday, 16 December 2013, across Buckinghamshire.

Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Thames Valley Police, the court, and victim agencies will work together to ensure cases of domestic abuse in Aylesbury Vale, Wycombe and Chiltern, and South Bucks are processed more quickly than they are currently.

Domestic abuse is a serious crime.  It is important that the time it takes to get cases to trial is kept as short as possible, so that all parties are not left waiting a long time before the case can be concluded.

Under the pilot, all domestic abuse cases will be listed for a first hearing at the Specialist Domestic Violence Court (SDVC) in High Wycombe and not in other courts in Aylesbury Vale. This hearing will be now be no more than two weeks from the date the suspect was charged, and all trials will be listed within two weeks of the first hearing or indeed one week after the first appearance in court, rather than the six to eight weeks it takes currently.

The pilot, which has involved the CPS, solicitors and victim agencies in its planning, will run for three months before being evaluated. If it proves to be successful it will be rolled out across Thames Valley.

Chief Inspector Rory Freeman, speaking on behalf of all the criminal Justice agencies involved in this pilot said: "This pilot will mean that victims of domestic abuse will not in most cases have to wait months for the case to go through court and all trials will be held at a court specialising in domestic abuse.

"Criminal justice agencies will work together to achieve this.  Police officers will be rsponsible for ensuring the file of evidence passed to the CPS contains all the information necessary to allow the matter to proceed through court, and the courts will be responsible for getting the cases listed within the specified timeframe.

"We hope the pilot will have a real impact on the number of cases which don't make it to court because the victim has withdrawn their support. Most importantly, it improves the service we provide to victims of this insidious and often violent crime."