Specialist Domestic Violence Court is Accredited by Home Office

Thames Specialist Domestic Violence Court has passed comprehensive testing to become accredited from the 1 April 2010 by the Specialist Domestic Violence Court National Steering Group, which includes membership from the Ministry of Justice, Home Office and the Crown Prosecution Service.

In order to be approved by the National Steering Group, the court, which offers domestic violence victims a tailor-made service, must meet 12 criteria set out by the Government.

These points include: specially-trained independent domestic violence advisers and magistrates who are also trained to deal with domestic violence cases; and separate entrances and waiting facilities for victims and witnesses.

The specialist court runs in partnership with Tower Hamlets and Hackney Council, HMCS, Crown Prosecution Service, Police, London Probation, the nia project and Victim Support.

In preparation for accreditation, since its launch in September 2009, the court has seen a total of 115 domestic violence trials, resulting in 21 prison sentences and 14 restraining orders for perpetrators. The Specialist Domestic Violence Court convenes every Thursday from 10am in two court rooms at Thames Magistrates’ Court.

Steve Douglas, Hackney Council Corporate Director for Neighbourhoods and Regeneration said: “Getting accredited by the National Steering Group is good news, as it shows that our Specialist Domestic Violence Court is meeting its joint aims of protecting victims and bringing their abusers to justice.

“Accreditation means that the services in place for and around the court have met the standards expected to ensure that the right specialist support is offered to help victims of domestic violence.”