Domestic violence court to open

A SPECIALIST domestic violence court designed to give greater support to victims in Ipswich will open for the first time next week.Based at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court, it will fast-track domestic violence cases through the judicial system and is expected to encourage more victims to give evidence against their abusers.

A SPECIALIST domestic violence court designed to give greater support to victims in Ipswich will open for the first time next week.

Based at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court, it will fast-track domestic violence cases through the judicial system and is expected to encourage more victims to give evidence against their abusers.

Marianne Fellowes, domestic violence and abuse service development manager for Suffolk, said it would send a “powerful message” about the way the crime is regarded and handled by the county's criminal justice system.

She added: “By providing a network of support and advice, we expect to see a fall in the number of victims who retract statements before the cases come to court, together with a reduction in the levels of repeat victimisation.”

The Specialist Domestic Violence Court (SDVC) is one of 28 located across England and Wales. In areas where there are such courts, the number of domestic violence prosecutions has increased from 59 per cent to 71pc.

One courtroom in the Ipswich magistrates' court will be used as the SDVC every Wednesday, starting from next week.

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John Budd, chair of the Suffolk Criminal Justice Board said there would be a small percentage of cases that cannot be heard on Wednesdays due to the timing of the offence.

He said: “If, for example, an offence occurred late on the Tuesday, we would not expect a victim to wait for eight days before the case can reach court.

“Therefore, time and resources have been allocated for those cases to be heard on a Friday.”

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