When it comes to domestic abuse cases, video evidence is already proving to be a considerable advantage in ensuring more prosecutions.
The Statistics Behind the Cases
The Violence Against Women and Girls report from the CPS has indicated a drop from 124,737 to 117,444 when it came to domestic abuse defendants requiring police referrals from 2015-2016 to 2016-2017. This change in statistics is thought to be due to the use of video evidence recorded by officers that is used in prosecutions. One example case study featured in the report shows how a plea of not guilty was changed in the pre-trial stages after viewing evidence from a body-worn camera, highlighting how the reliability of such evidence can impact a case and result in prosecution before a costly, lengthy and emotional trial for all those involved.
Domestic abuse against females makes up 19.3% of the workload the CPS deals with, which has increased from 7.1% ten years ago. Last year, there was an increase of 14% in defendants convicted than the year before, where over a third of these were related to child sexual abuse. The report states the age ranges of these victims: over 50% were under 24, around 20% were 14-17 years old and, shockingly, nearly one in every ten were under 13.
Cameras and the use of their video evidence have been trialled and introduced throughout the country, and the figures suggest the investment is certainly worthwhile. A body worn camera, like those from https://www.pinnacleresponse.com/, illustrates the powerful potential of technical advances to benefit society.
Positive Steps Towards Future Prosecutions
Given the encouraging findings thus far, it is hoped that such video evidence will be increasingly utilised to the benefit of domestic abuse prosecutions.
The lead for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary for domestic violence, Zoe Billingham, believes that it should be mandatory for police to wear cameras, which would also help prevent pressure being put on victims in providing testimony.
The CPS are in support of expanding the cross-examination allowance pre-trial to witnesses under the age of 18 and to include cases of slavery, sexual assault of a serious nature and rape. According to the Director of Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, support for the victims and securing prosecutions in cases of abuse against women are of utmost importance to the CPS.