An Evaluation of the fast track protocol for handling domestic abuse case at Aylesbury Crown Court

Author: 
Dr John Synott & Dr Maria Ioannou, University of Huddersfield

Aylesbury Crown Court (ACC), located in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire within the Thames Valley Police force area, rolled out a pilot protocol ‘PROTOCOL FOR THE HANDLING OF DOMESTIC ABUSE CASES AT AYLESBURY CROWN COURT’ on the 20th November 2017 to improve the average length that DA cases spend in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) within that area. The agencies involved in the protocol include ACC themselves, Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service, Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Thames Valley Police (TVP) and the Witness Care Unit (WCU).

According to the draft document the aim of this multi-agency protocol was to set out the expectations of each agency in relation to the efficient and effective preparation, review and listing for trial and sentence of DA cases being heard at ACC. Fast-track approaches are important in protecting DA victims and reducing the risk of repeat victimisation by putting appropriate safeguarding and support mechanisms in place within an appropriate time frame (Cook, Burton, Robinson & Vallely, 2004). Thus, the pilot was conducted with the hopes of providing an evidence-based approach in the handling of DA cases for national implementation following evaluation.