Wednesday 19 January 2022
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Nottingham

Abusers warned as Nottinghamshire Police pursue more evidence-led prosecutions

More domestic abuse suspects are being put before the courts than ever before in cases where their victims are unwilling or unable to give evidence against them.

Nottinghamshire Police is ramping up its use of so-called evidence-led prosecutions, with officers exploring every possible avenue to safeguard victims and bring perpetrators to justice.

Evidence-led prosecutions allow officers to use evidence gathered in the immediate aftermath of an incident – such as body worn video footage – to bring criminal prosecutions against perpetrators.

In doing so, officers are seeking to bring suspects to justice when – often under pressure from their abuser – victims withdraw complaints and withhold support for prosecutions.

Over the last 12 months, Nottinghamshire Police officers and staff have approached the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on 293 occasions attempting to secure charges on an evidence-led basis. Charges have been secured in 69 cases – with some of the other cases still under consideration by the CPS.

The force is highlighting this aspect of its work as part of the White Ribbon Day campaign – 16 days of actions to reduce violence against women and girls.

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As part of the campaign, the force is urging people to speak out and report incidents of domestic abuse, with specialist officers ready to step in to take action and safeguard victims.

Detective Inspector Gareth Harding, force lead for domestic abuse, said: “In most criminal cases victims are only too keen to take part in the legal process because they want to get justice.

“In cases of domestic abuse that desire for justice is still there, but so too are a lot of other pressures that may stop victims continuing with the criminal process.

“We understand those concerns and work hard with our partners to overcome them in any way we can. We explain how we can keep people safe using tools such as court orders to prevent further contact between victim and abuser.

“When that kind of reassurance proves insufficient, we will always explore an evidence-led prosecution in order to safeguard victims and bring offenders to justice. In line with national guidelines that is an approach we are taking more and more.

“And I want abusers to know that. I want them to know that we can and will come after them even in cases why they think they have bullied and intimidated their victim into silence. We will leave no stone unturned in our investigation and we will do everything in our power to bring them to justice.

“Even in cases where that is not possible my officers will apply the same level of care and dedication to safeguarding victims and protecting them from further harm.

“So, if you are concerned about the abuse of a friend or loved one the most effective thing you can do to protect them is to call the police. We treat all reports seriously and will do all we can to protect victims.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “As Police and Crime Commissioner, responsible for representing victims, I believe it is imperative we explore all possibilities to safeguard victims and stop the perpetrators of domestic abuse. The steps Nottinghamshire Police have taken so far in pursuing evidence-led prosecutions are welcome, as too is the stepping of their use to protect victims.”

 

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