In Brief

Violence against women: record number of convictions reported

But charities say there is still a long way to go before all victims receive the justice they need and deserve

The number of prosecutions and convictions for violent crimes against women has hit a record high in England and Wales. 

The latest figures from the Crown Prosecution Service show that 107,000 prosecutions for cases of rape, domestic abuse and sexual abuse were made in the last year, an increase of 18 per cent. There was also a 15 per cent increase in stalking and harassment prosecutions to more than 12,000.

"This is really good news for the victims of these dreadful crimes and is also testament to the hard work we have done recently to encourage victims to come forward," said Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders.

Meanwhile, convictions have increased to 78,773 in the past year, up 16.9 per cent on the previous year. Conviction rates for rape have decreased slightly to 56.9 percent, a drop prosecutors attribute to the fact that more complex rape cases are being brought.

The increase in prosecutions and convictions is said to be a result of more victims having the courage to come forward. The broadening of the definition of domestic abuse to include offences such as revenge porn and coercive control is also believed to be behind the increase.

"[It] may also be due to the growing use of the internet, which acts as an enabler of crime," says the BBC's Danny Shaw. Prosecutors warn that abusers are increasingly using the internet to contact potential victims and post indecent images and messages.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition has welcomed the report, calling it comprehensive and transparent. "It is of critical importance that we continue to examine every stage of the criminal justice process to ensure it is the best it can be."

But a spokesperson for Rape Crisis England and Wales warned against complacency, The Guardian reports. "There is still some distance to travel before all survivors of sexual violence and violence against women and girls receive the justice they want and deserve."

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