What do you think about the way that Domestic Violence is prosecuted? Is it not taken seriously enough, or an example of policy driven prosecuting without regard to the circumstances?
There is a Consultation Homepage where all the material is collected.
This is supposed to supplement the general Code for Crown Prosecutors. There is not necessarily anything wildly new or exciting put forward, just a consolidation and evolution.
Although it is a relatively lengthy document (some 50 odd pages) it is worth a read. Some of it is stating the obvious – the CPS state that cases should be prepared properly. Of course, saying that doesn’t make it happen, which may be a bigger issue.
There may be more controversy over the charging decisions. Cautions are effectively ruled out which may or may not be a good thing. There is a concern that there is to much of a ‘broad brush’ approach.
For example, para 64 : “The police should consider cautions carefully in domestic violence cases. This is because such cases involve a breach of trust and are unlikely to be the first offence“. It is not immediately clear that this correctly states the test for a caution. Many people might find the second sentence there a bit too vague and lacking in evidence.
This is in part due to the overly wide definition of domestic violence. It may be relevant in many cases, but an argument in a pub between two brothers is also categorised as domestic violence, where it is hard to see an abuse of trust or any evidence that it is not going to be the first offence.
It seems to me that there is a lack of proper consideration of the evidential test – particularly where many (criminal) practitioners are of the suspicion that the CPS use a lower test in practice.
The difficult question of when a complainant should be forced to come to court and/or give evidence is given, in my view, far too little consideration. But there is some good material on how to support complainants and witnesses (again, it could be said that the practice is often somewhat different from the theory).
How to respond
There is a response form which can be downloaded.
The deadline to respond is 9th July 2014.