Do you want to talk to someone about domestic abuse?
Contact the Somerset Domestic Abuse Support helpline: 0800 69 49 999

Or email the Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service
General Enquiries: heretohelp@knightstone.co.uk Referrals: here.tohelp@knightstone.cjsm.net

Opening Hours - 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturday/Sunday. 

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please always call the Police on 999.

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Domestic Abuse - Criminal Justice Overview

Witnesses, Crown Prosecution Service, Prosecutions, Legal Aid


Standards for Victims and Witnesses


Code of Practice for Victims— statutory code that sets out the minimum level of service that victims should receive from the  criminal justice system

Witness Charter—sets out the basic standards of service that you can expect from the criminal justice system in England and Wales as a witness of crime

In Somerset, -  the Lighthouse Victim and Witness Care team based at Bridgwater Police Station support victims and witnesses of domestic abuse and help fulfil the expectations set out in the above Victims Code and Witness Charter.

Specialist Support


A victim of domestic abuse may often be asked to act as a    witness in criminal proceedings.  Together with the Lighthouse Team, victims of domestic abuse are likely to be offered support of the Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service.   

A specialist domestic abuse court will normally enable victims and witnesses to be offered the use of “special measures” in court, to help reduce the stress of the hearing.

Specialist Domestic Violence Courts


In Somerset, there are two specialist domestic violence courts (Yeovil and Taunton).  These have staff and magistrates  trained in domestic abuse, to help ensure that  victims and witnesses  receive the  best possible support. Normally, domestic abuse  cases are heard on the same day, so that the  trained staff are available.

The Crown Prosecution Service normally ensure their prosecutors are trained in understanding the dynamics of domestic abuse, when prosecuting in SDVC cases.

Legal Aid


If someone has evidence that they or their children have been victims of domestic abuse, they maybe able to get legal aid if they can’t afford to  pay legal costs. Evidence can be provided from several sources:

Courts, Police, MARAC, Social Services, Health Professional, Refuge Manager, Domestic Abuse Service, Bank, Employer, Education or Training Provider or Benefits Provider. The Legal Aid Agency has sample letters for both victims and professionals to use.  See the useful contacts section for link.

Introduction


There are a variety of methods by which victims and witnesses of domestic abuse can be supported throughout the criminal justice process.

This briefing, provides a summary of these, plus useful links.


Useful Links




Helping to Keep You Safe