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The World Cup: ‘There is no excuse for domestic abuse’

|News, Domestic abuse

‘There is no excuse for domestic abuse’ the Crown Prosecution Service has said as cases are expected to rise during the World Cup.

Stark figures published last year by the National Centre for Domestic Violence uncovered the shocking reality that incidents of domestic abuse increase following England games.

Data showed reported incidents increased by 26 percent if England play, 38 percent if England lose, and 11 percent the next day, win or lose.

This is of huge concern for the Crown Prosecution Service as reports of domestic abuse continue to rise, with the CPS determined to do all it can to bring perpetrators of this abhorrent crime to justice and provide protection for victims.

Kate Brown, CPS Domestic Abuse lead, said: “There is no excuse for domestic abuse.

“Watching football should be a time when people can enjoy and share their passion for their favourite team, but sadly, the game is marred by this tragic reality.

“There is no hiding behind football as a reason for such cowardly and cruel abuse - and we are determined to see dangerous abusers prosecuted.

“Domestic abuse in its many forms is life-changing, and we understand the trauma of reporting someone. I want to encourage victims to report, safe in the knowledge they will be listened to and supported throughout the criminal justice process.”

With cases expected to rise, specially trained prosecutors are on hand to advise police and make charging decisions during the World Cup through our out-of-hours charging service CPS Direct.

At peak times, prosecutors working in the CPS Direct team can receive up to 70 to 80 calls an hour for charging decisions, with the festive period continuing to be one of the busier periods and cases of domestic abuse expected to rise. 

Domestic abuse remains a high priority for the CPS, with extensive work continuing to better understand and improve how cases are handled, which has seen a high charge rate in cases of domestic abuse.

To shift the focus from the victim and better support them, prosecutors and police take a suspect-centric approach to build stronger cases. This requires looking at the behaviours of the suspect before, during and after the alleged incident.

Our work is supported by specific training on domestic abuse and evidence-led prosecutions – allowing prosecutors to take forward a case without the victim needing to give evidence - and instead building a case using further evidence such as body-worn video and witness statements.

Douglas Mackay, CPS Football lead, added: “We all have a responsibility to make football an environment everyone can enjoy safely and without fear.

“It is deeply saddening that reports of this abuse rise during a time when fans should be showing their love for the game and supporting their nations in the biggest international tournament in football.

“Domestic abuse is never acceptable. There is no excuse, reason, or motive for someone to inflict cruelty, abuse, and violence on the people in their lives.

“The CPS is playing a crucial role in tackling football-related crimes and working with partners to make our national sport inclusive, safe to watch, and play in.”

Notes to editors

  • We put out for public consultation our revised domestic abuse legal guidance in April 2022, setting out that the notion there is a typical victim of domestic abuse is wrong, damaging and can prevent sufferers coming forward. We plan to publish our updated guidance together with a new DA policy imminently.
  • Prosecutors are continuing to work closely with police and Independent Domestic Violence Advisors as they build robust cases to further develop a best practice framework.
  • We are continuing to work closely with the police to understand emerging trends, address concerns and share good practice. Locally our prosecutors are delivering training to police officers on evidence-led prosecutions, as well as sharing findings of their internal training with the College of Policing.
  • Our Domestic Abuse Best Practice framework sets out measures that are in place for victims to support them through the prosecution process, including support from Independent Domestic Violence Advisers and pre-trial court visits. As well as the use of special measures such as giving evidence from behind a screen, or via a remote video link.  
  • Our updated legal guidance on Restraining Orders will help prosecutors take all the necessary and appropriate steps to ensure victims are protected from further harm -

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