A safe, just and equal world for women

Statement about the criminal justice response to domestic abuse and violence against women and girls

May 19, 2023
One in four women and girls are affected by domestic abuse in the UK. Yet, they continue to be let down by the criminal justice system, when they ask for safety and justice.

Thousands of women supported by Advance tell us that they feel unprotected and silenced; they are not heard or believed by the police, they are not understood by prosecutors and the courts, and are not fully supported by statutory agencies and the wider community.

Whilst more women than ever before are reporting domestic abuse crimes to the police, fewer perpetrators are investigated, charged and prosecuted. The justice response continues to be disappointing, with a 36% increase in domestic abuse incidents reported from 2017 to 2022, yet domestic abuse-related prosecutions decreased by 43% in the same period, across England and Wales (ONS). Only 3.5% (53,207) of domestic incidents reported (1,500,369) were prosecuted last year.

The National Police Chiefs Council’s recognition of violence against women and girls as a strategic policing threat this week, along with recent commitments by the Metropolitan Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office, are all steps in acknowledging the urgency and scale of the response needed to end the abuse of women and children.

Urgent action is now needed to deliver an increase in arrests and prosecutions by the Police and Crown Prosecution Service, along with a statutory duty to support all survivors through the criminal justice system and in their community by the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office.

Women and children need safety and justice; words are not enough.


For all press enquiries, please contact:
E: press@advancecharity.org.uk 
T: 020 3953 3111
About Advance
  • Advance’s vision is a world in which women and children lead safe, equal, violence-free lives so that they can flourish and actively contribute to society. The charity works with women who experience domestic abuse to be safe and take control of their lives, and women who have committed crime or are at risk of offending to break the cycle.
  • As well as providing direct support, Advance works with statutory services, government agencies and other women’s charities to ensure a holistic approach to the issues these women face.
  • Women must be referred to Advance, via statutory services or the charity’s self-referral scheme. For more information about who Advance is able to support, please visit Get Help
  • For facts and statistics about domestic abuse and women in the criminal justice system, as well as Advance’s work, please visit Our Impact
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