A drop by almost a third in the number of prosecutions for domestic violence could be due to a reduction in resources, rather than the crime itself - a law firm has warned.
Nottinghamshire Police has had one of the largest decreases in domestic violence prosecutions in the country of -28 per cent - a reduction from 1,248 between December 29 2014 to June 30 2015 to 900 in the same time period a year later. That is not necessarily a good thing according to Simpson Millar solicitors.
Emma Pearmaine, director of family services at the firm said: “For several years we have seen a steady rise in domestic violence prosecutions which was largely attributed to an increase in public awareness and a change in the attitude within police forces to pro-actively tackle these cases.
“It is rather idealistic or hopeful to assume that we are witnessing a society-wide fall in instances of domestic violence, regardless of how much I wish that was true.”
She suggested that legal aid cuts are starting to filter through in terms of the number of people who have access to legal advice.
She explained: “A cut in the legal aid budget has had a negative impact on the level of access people have to legal advice; this could now be having serious implications for abuse victims.
“My team of family lawyers and I always advise victims of domestic abuse to report it to the police – even when it is a matter of coercive control and not yet physical violence. But in the past 12 months we have seen a marked fall in those cases which is reflected in the latest police statistics.”