Summary:Prosecutions and convictions for crimes of violence against women and girls have risen by 15,000 over four years.
The figures come from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which covers
England and Wales.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Keir Starmer, said the rise was
due to better training and a greater understanding of victims.
The Refuge charity welcomed the increase but said it represented only
"the tip of the iceberg".
Most victims of domestic violence suffer in silence - Mr Starmer said a
woman would on average be assaulted 30 times before she sought help.
In a speech he will highlight the progress he believes the CPS has made when
it comes to all violent crime against women and girls.
The DPP will tell his audience that last year in England and Wales there
were 91,000 prosecutions and 67,000 convictions.
The CPS launched its Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy in 2008.
It focused on a number of issues including domestic violence, rape, forced
marriage and female genital mutilation.
Four years on with an increase in both prosecutions and convictions, Mr
Starmer told the BBC: "I don't want to overclaim this.
"There are many women who do
not have the confidence to come forward. And we must continue in the work we
are doing to try and give them the confidence. But this is perhaps a milestone
in the journey we are on to try and prosecute these cases."
And he outlined the CPS approach:
"The main planks of our strategy have been absolutely clear policy and
guidance for our prosecutors dealing with, for example, victim issues - why
might a victim not want to see a case through or want to withdraw?"
He highlighted better training and
use of specialist prosecutors, adding that "we have really tried to
address myths and stereotypes which have bedevilled the criminal justice system
for years. We have confronted them head on."
Mr Starmer acknowledged that some
victims who had come forward had been let down and traumatised further because
of shortcomings by CPS staff.
Cases have collapsed and suspects
have walked free because of incompetence by prosecutors.
He said: "I don't pretend for
one minute that we haven't made mistakes in the last few years.
'Barely scratch surface'
"We are a huge organisation, we
prosecute about a million defendants year on year. There will be errors.
"My job is to reduce the number
of errors and deal with them honestly when we get them and that means looking
into why something went wrong and apologising when we get it wrong."
The CPS has 3,000 prosecutors
specially trained in dealing with domestic violence cases and 800 trained rape
When it came to the conviction rate
in England and Wales for domestic violence it was 73% but for rape it was
The CPS said there was 62.5% rate
where a suspect had been charged with rape and was convicted of rape, a serious
sexual assault or a crime of violence. The conviction rate for rape alone was
Sandra Horley, chief executive of
Refuge, said: "In London alone there were almost 52,000 domestic violence
offences recorded in one year, so the 66,860 cases successfully prosecuted
nationally barely scratch the surface.
"We are concerned that the
British Crime Survey tells us that there are an estimated 1.2 million women who
experience domestic abuse each year in the UK.
"Some of these cases may not be
reported to the police for a number of reasons, including women being too
frightened to come forward.
"This leaves a huge number of
domestic abuse cases that never reach the police and therefore the courts.
"For those who do report
domestic violence the police response is often woefully inadequate."
Victim Support welcomed the rise in
prosecutions and convictions but said it still had "serious concerns"
about the number of women not reporting crimes or seeing their cases through in
"Victim Support helps women
move on from the trauma of violence every day - often when they have not
reported the crime to the police because of fear, or lack of confidence in the
justice system itself," chief executive Javed Khan said.
"The challenge for the Crown
Prosecution Service is to make sure all women who have been the victim of a
violent crime can see justice done."
Dr Aisha Gill, a reader in
criminology at the University of Roehampton, also welcomed the report, but said
the surge in prosecutions was "merely a drop in the ocean - especially as
we still need to address the root causes of violence against women".
She said the CPS had been a
"leader" in prosecution, but warned that the "statistics do not
always tell the full story".
"We know that one in four women
are affected by domestic violence in their lives. There are over two murders a
week in relation to domestic violence."
Dr Gill added there had been significant
responses to rape, but "more work" needed to be done "in terms
of provision, prevention and protection".