Domestic Violence – Why do many victims withdraw the charges against their partners?

There has been almost a 40% decrease in victims of domestic violence refusing to press charges in a single year.

In 2016 over 160,000 victims of domestic violence requested charges against their abusers be withdrawn. This is 40% more than in 2015.  This information was provided by 34 out of England’s 39 police forces.

The decrease has heightened concerns that cuts to policing and specialist domestic violence services are resulting in victims of domestic abuse being forced to return to dangerous and potentially fatal situations, whilst perpetrators are regularly evading justice.

In 2016 almost 100,000 additional charges of domestic violence were dropped due to reasons such as lack of evidence, which raises questions as to the police’s ability to prosecute domestic abuse crimes.

The high numbers of victims not pursuing prosecutions for domestic abuse evidences that they are not getting the support they need, even though they are very vulnerable to future attacks.

In February 2017 Theresa May stated there would be a consultation regarding how domestic abuse is handled, which will result in a new Domestic Violence and Abuse Act. She also promised a further £20,000,000 in additional funding for domestic abuse services and to “transform” the way domestic abuse is dealt with.

Budget cuts are resulting in police forces putting the public at unacceptable risk as police are not properly investigating crimes. There is recent evidence that Police officers are not properly taking into account the severity of domestic violence cases and are downgrading theses to less urgent categories, thereby placing victims at much greater risk of harm.

If you, or anyone you know, is at risk of or has suffered domestic violence and abuse, don’t delay, contact the Domestic Violence and Abuse Department (DVAD) at Emery Johnson Astills, either by phoning 0116 255 4855, or by emailing DVAD@johnsonastills.com.

A specially trained member of staff in the DVAD of Emery Johnson Astills will be able to provide advice as to what measures you can take to protect yourself and also whether you may be eligible for Legal Aid.