New court sees increase in domestic violence convictions


A specialist court which was set up in Birmingham three months ago has seen a six per cent increase in convictions of domestic violence cases.

In July 2013, the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) along with its partners in the local criminal justice system and Birmingham and Solihull Women's Aid set up the Specialist Domestic Violence Court based in Birmingham Magistrates' court which dealt with domestic violence offences which have been committed in the city.

Since its launch, the court has handled 214 cases and has seen its conviction rate of domestic violence cases increase by two per cent each month and it is now standing at 71 per cent.

Andy Crump, Senior Crown Prosecutor and Domestic Violence Co-ordinator from West Midlands CPS, said: "We are very pleased to see the success of this court as it clearly has demonstrated the benefits of bringing together specially trained police officers, prosecutors, court service staff, probation officers and the Independent Domestic Violence Advisors who are all working together to prosecute domestic violence as well as support victims of such crimes. 

"These special trained multi-agency members of staff support victims of domestic violence during what can be a difficult experience in giving evidence in court.

"We hope that this bespoke service which we are providing to victims will help them to overcome these difficulties in order to assist the prosecution team in bringing offenders to justice, and to date, it seems this court is doing just that.

"The success of this court has exceeded our expectations and I hope this encourages more victims of such crimes to come forward and report these offences rather than suffering in silence and that it sends out a clear message to the perpetrators that we will prosecute you robustly through this court."

Maureen Connolly, Chief Executive of Birmingham and Solihull Women's Aid, said: "We are really pleased that the reintroduction of a specialist domestic violence court in Birmingham has seen an increase in the conviction rate for domestic violence.

"We hope that the knowledge that there are specialist domestic violence workers within the court who understand how daunting attending court can be for victims and are able to offer support throughout the process encourages more women to feel able to take the brave step of reporting their experiences of abuse to the police and pursue perpetrators through the criminal court."

Kim Madill, T/Detective Chief Inspector and Lead on Domestic Abuse from West Midlands Police,said: "West Midlands Police are really pleased with the success the Specialist Domestic Violence Court has seen even in the first few months and we are committed to working with partners to improve the outcomes for victims of domestic abuse even further over the coming months.

"We have specially trained officers to guide and support victims through the process of bringing offenders to justice.

"We would encourage anyone suffering from domestic abuse to come forward and report it to stop it. 

"Call West Midlands Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency."