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Domestic abuse victims urged to record incidents

Domestic abuse victims urged to record incidents

Published by Helen Down at 7:00am 18th August 2019.

Victims of domestic abuse are being encouraged to record incidents of abuse this summer.

Figures appear to show only a small proportion of people arrested for coercive control end up being charged due to lack of evidence.

Family law firm Ridley Hall Solicitors say they have obtained statistics under a freedom of information request from Surrey Police and Hampshire Police.

The firm told Eagle Radio the results show Surrey Police recorded 397 arrests for 'controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship' in 2018.

Of those 84 people were charged for that same offence and no further action was recorded 216 times.

Ridley Hall Solicitors say under the same freedom of information request submitted Hampshire Police 355 people were arrested 'controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship' last year.  Of those 34 were charged and no further action was taken in 307 cases.

Emma Pearmaine is a Family lawyer and domestic violence campaigner.

She says gathering enough evidence for the Crown Prosecution Service to bring a charge against violent spouses is exceptionally difficult, but that mobile phone apps could help. She said:

 "Coercive control is a subtle pattern of behaviours which are very hard for both victims and the Police to prove. Although thousands of arrests are made for domestic violence and coercive control each year, cases are often dropped because of insufficient evidence.

"We know that incidents of domestic abuse and violence go up over holiday periods, so I am urging those who already feel threatened to find a way of making a record of any and all incidents of abuse over the summer.

"By keeping a record of domestic abuse, the Police and Crown Prosecution Service will be able to make a case to charge and prosecute the perpetrator.

"Family lawyers will be able to use the evidence to secure orders necessary to protect and meet the practical needs of the victim and any children of the family, which include non-molestation orders, financial orders and child arrangements orders."

There are currently several apps available for victims of domestic violence that help with everything from simple note-keeping to storing searchable records such as documents, pictures and videos. 

Many apps are disguised as something else, so that an abuser would not identify it on a victim's phone screen, if they decided to check. 

Some domestic violence apps even allow victims and their lawyers the option of downloading the stored records in court-ready chronology. 

Users can link their records to a professional, who can monitor events in real time and offer support and advice in real time.