Assisting victims through the court process in domestic violence cases

The Association of Chief Police Officers guidance on investigating domestic abuse states that, "Positive action policies should be applied in all cases of domestic abuse to reduce repeat victimisation and protect victims". The robust attitude by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to domestic abuse cases to proceed to prosecutions through the criminal justice system, even if the victim does not want to support this, can of course protect victims by taking the pressure away from them. However, many people, who do not feel the need for government intervention in their intimate relationship, are left feeling powerless.

 

We are frequently contacted by victims, whose partner, whom they love very much, has been arrested following a heated argument and they find themselves, "caught in the system". Sometimes a neighbour calls the police, the domestic violence services, through whom the victim seeks help, may initiate police involvement, or the victim themselves may call the police. People find that, once there is police involvement and an arrest, they no longer have any say in how matters proceed. People are distressed to find that their partner is prohibited from returning home, or from contacting them, because of bail conditions, or because a Domestic Violence Protection Order has been made (again without their agreement). Victims can find that they are concerned about themselves facing a possible charge of Perverting the Course of Justice if they seek to retract (even a true allegation). They also then are required to attend any future trial in support of the Crown's case, even though they may no longer wish to support the prosecution. A lack of understanding of the system can leave people feeling that matters don't always turn out the way they had hoped.


HOW WE CAN HELP

 

We are able to assist the victim through the police station and Court process. We are knowledgeable about the Criminal Justice System and can support you through the process by, answering your questions, explaining to you how the system works, fighting for your rights, listening to your problems, informing you of your options, and giving you advice. In a Solicitor/client relationship everything you say is completely confidential; we cannot talk about your case with anyone, unless you give permission. This is different from other professionals who may pass on information you give to police. We also work within family law so can assist with concerns once Social services are involved if there are children in the family. Because of our knowledge of the system, we can be very effective in pressuring the system to get your voice heard. Please contact us in confidence if you need assistance.