Huge rise in domestic abuse cases being dropped

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Official statistics show that domestic abuse cases are being reduced at a rapidly increasing rate.

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The number of common assault offenses, including domestic abuse, because they fail to meet prosecution deadlines, has more than doubled in the past four years.

Currently, the deadline to charge someone for general assault is six months after the alleged incident took place.


But campaigners say more time needs to be given to domestic abuse victims to report attacks because of the complexity of such cases and the press’s reluctance to accuse.

In data obtained by the BBC from 30 police forces in England and Wales, allegations of domestic abuse are rising yet charges are falling.

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Domestic abuse common assaults have increased from about 100,000 in 2016/17 to over 160,000 in 2020/21.

Cases dropped due to the six-month deadline have risen 159 percent between 2016 and this year so far, from 1,451 in 2016/17 to 3,763 in 2020/21.

Also, more than 98.4 percent of rape charges in England and Wales do not end in conviction.

Labor MP and chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, Yvette Cooper, said the falling in cases was another example of the criminal justice system failing to understand violence against women and girls.

“It is a shocking fact that every year thousands of cases – and getting worse – are just running out of time,” she told BBC News.

“There are a number of reasons why domestic abuse victims and survivors may not be able to report the assault directly. But then to say that the perpetrator is being released just because their time is up is completely That’s wrong. Hence the need for a change in the law.”

Ms Cooper and campaigners have called for an amendment to the police bill to extend the six-month deadline for reporting domestic violence to two years.

A government spokesman said: “All allegations should be investigated and pursued vigorously through the courts where possible, and there is no time limit for reporting offenses such as bodily harm or those that constitute coercive behavior.” add up.

“We have invested millions in critical services to support victims during the pandemic, and continue to urge anyone at risk of harm to come forward and get the help they need.

“Perpetrators of domestic abuse do untold harm and we sympathize with any victim whose life has been affected by such acts.”


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