THE NUMBER of domestic abuse suspects referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has fallen, latest statistics have revealed despite an estimated 2.4 million adults across the country subjected to the crime in just one year.
Figures released from the Office for National Statistics show 1.6 million women and 786,000 men aged 16 to 74 experienced domestic abuse in the 12 months ending March 2019.
Police across England and Wales recorded 746,219 domestic abuse-related crimes during the same time period - an increase of 24 per cent from the previous year.
Despite this, referrals of suspects of domestic abuse-flagged cases from the police to the CPS for a charging decision fell 11 per cent, from 110,653 in the year ending March 2018 to 98,740 in the year ending March 2019.
Of the cases referred to the CPS, 74 per cent resulted in the charge of a suspect, compared to 76 per cent the previous year.
Over three quarters (77 per cent) succeeded in securing a conviction, a similar level to the previous years.
There were 366 domestic homicides recorded by the police in England and Wales between April 2016 and March 2018, accounting for 20 per cent of all killings of victims aged over 16.
The number of people killed as a result of domestic violence in the UK is at its highest level in five years, according to figures reported earlier this year.
Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe, who leads the National Police Chiefs' Council's work on domestic abuse, said the fall in charging referrals was "concerning" and it was working with the CPS to "understand the complex reasons for this."
She added: "The large increases in reporting comes alongside more complex and demanding investigations and the pressure on police resources.
"Arrests and prosecutions may provide a temporary respite for victims but a public health response is vital to keep people safe and provide a lasting solution."
The figures were released as Yorkshire’s largest police force - West Yorkshire Police - launched a new campaign aimed at domestic abuse perpetrators.
The “It’s in your hands” campaign is targeted at both men and women who are concerned about their behaviour, whether it is through physical violence or controlling tendencies.
Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson said: “Our message with this campaign is that ultimately it is in the perpetrators’ hands and their hands only to change their behaviour for good.
“There are organisations across West Yorkshire who are completely independent of the police who help both men and women to address the root causes of their violent or controlling behaviour and change their mind-set. While they do work with people who have been arrested, it doesn’t need to get to that stage and we are encouraging people to make the call now before it gets that far.
“Families can be torn apart by domestic abuse but we also know a lot of people want to do what they can to keep their family together.
“Ultimately, the earlier that you get help to understand and change the way you behave, the better chance you have of fixing your relationship with your partner and protecting any children in the household.”
The Yorkshire Post has contacted the Home Office for a response in relation to the domestic abuse figures but the department was unable to respond due to Purdah.