In recent years, alongside increasing social awareness around domestic abuse issues, it has been a relief to see that there has also been progress within the justice system towards understanding the ways that domestic abuse is perpetrated and its prevalence in society.
The Crown Prosecution Service recently revealed shocking statistics which show that:
- Domestic abuse represents 1 in 10 crimes
- Police respond to more than 100 domestic abuse calls every hour
The Sentencing Council has recently updated its guidance to the Courts on sentencing of crimes which involve domestic abuse. Before this update, the guidance emphasised that crimes committed in a domestic context should be seen as no less serious than those committed in a non-domestic context. The Courts will now be expected during sentencing to address the seriousness of the offences and to properly take into account the perpetrators behaviour and prevent reoffending.
The guidelines now use the term “domestic abuse” as this covers financial, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse. The change in terminology from using domestic violence to domestic abuse means the ways abuse can take place in the 21st century through electronic forms and social media are recognised. The new guidelines also provide additional guidance on restraining orders and victim personal statements.
The Family Law Team at Switalskis Solicitors have many years’ experience assisting victims of domestic abuse. For a number of solicitors within the department, these new guidelines represent an almost complete change in society’s attitudes to domestic abuse compared to that which they experienced when they started their careers a quarter of a century ago.
The Family Law Team at Switalskis are pleased that society is now understanding and recognising the seriousness of domestic abuse. If you or somebody you know is experiencing domestic abuse and requires assistance, the Family Law Team are here to help. To speak to a member of our team call 0800 138 0458.