Attacks on women rise

PUBLISHED: 18:38 09 July 2015 | UPDATED: 18:38 09 July 2015

Archant

A RISE in prosecutions for violence against women and girls has been welcomed by police bosses, despite a fall in conviction rates.

More than 2,750 prosecutions were brought by Avon and Somerset Constabulary for violence against women and girls between April 2014 and March this year, a rise of 238 over the previous 12 months.

The majority of charges were for domestic violence – representing 2,351 of 2,789 overall – leading Avon and Somerset Constabulary Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens to appeal to more victims to come forward.

Just over one in four prosecutions are unsuccessful within the force area, according to a new nationwide report which found Avon and Somerset was home to the 11th highest number of prosecutions for violence against women and girls of 44 forces across the country.

The number of unsuccessful prosecutions was significantly higher in rape prosecutions, with barely half of cases brought forward leading to convictions last year, at just 54.8 per cent.

The figure was 57.2 per cent in 2013-14, although the number of cases prosecuted was also 23 higher, at 180.

Ms Mountstevens said: “I want all victims to know that there is help available – from the police and other agencies – and that no-one deserves to suffer in silence.

“Domestic abuse is an inexcusable form of cruelty and will not be tolerated in Avon and Somerset. No-one has the right to abuse another person either physically or mentally.

“Raising awareness of this monstrous crime will hopefully continue to give victims the confidence to come forward and seek justice.”

Assistant Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for domestic abuse, said the rise in the number of prosecutions represented an ‘encouraging’ figure, because it means a greater number of victims feel able to come forward.

She said: “We understand that for victims of these crimes speaking out about their experiences may be difficult, so we are encouraged by these figures as more and more people have the confidence to come forward.

“We now have more tools at our disposal to help us recognise, identify and take action against people who commit violence and abuse, and every day we work closely with our partners, including the CPS, to bring offenders to justice.”

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