91,000 charged for attacks on women

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has reported its highest conviction rate on record for cases involving violence against women and girls.

While in 2007-08 the CPS prosecuted 75,000 cases involving violence against females, by the year 2011-12 that number had climbed to 91,000.

And over the same period the number of convictions rose from 52,000 to almost 67,000.

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The figures were announced in a speech yesterday by Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer, who said a “cultural change” in the way such issues are dealt with has helped their success at being prosecuted.

“The work of the service in recognising violence against women and girls as a unified, high-priority issue, championed at the most senior level nationally and in the areas, and addressed through new policies, training and the use of specialist staff, has delivered a cultural change,” he said.

“Cases are now judged entirely on the merits of the evidence: we have recognised that myths and stereotypes previously held have no place in our criminal justice system – and that we need to tackle them head on.”

Mr Starmer is chairing a case review panel to explore the handling of the Rochdale prosecutions where nine Muslim men, mainly of Pakistani origin, were found guilty of plying girls as young as 13 with drink and drugs and raping them.

He said: “Violence against women and girls is not a race issue, but what we do recognise is that the manifestation of abuse varies across communities and we have to discuss the issues and possible solutions together with those communities.”

Sandra Horley, chief executive of domestic violence charity Refuge, said: “We commend the CPS for their efforts. Whilst we recognise these efforts are a step in the right direction, there is no room for complacency.

“Refuge remains concerned that the numbers of perpetrators prosecuted and subsequently convicted represents the tip of an iceberg.”