HC Deb 01 July 2004 vol 423 cc433-4
19. Julie Morgan (Cardiff, Nord) (Lab)

What plans she has to include the Crown Prosecution Service in multi-agency working. [181615]

The Solicitor-General

The Crown Prosecution Service works with many different agencies including local police, local government, Victim Support and community groups.

Julie Morgan

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for that reply. Is she aware of the key role played by the Crown Prosecution Service in south Wales in the multidisciplinary Cardiff domestic violence forum and when working with the Cardiff won pen's safety unit, and that south Wales CPS was praised for its work on domestic violence in the recent inspectorate report? How does she think the CPS can become even more involved in inter-agency work?

The Solicitor-General

I am glad to welcome my hon. Friend's comments about the role played by the Crown Prosecution Service, together with statutory and voluntary agencies in Cardiff, on tackling domestic violence. Of course, 25 per cent. of all reported violent crime represents domestic violence so the issue is by no means marginal. I am aware that there is scope for further work.

Ms Meg Munn (Sheffield, Heeley) (Lab/Co-op)

May I urge my right hon. and learned Friend to consider the involvement of outside agencies in training Crown Prosecution Service staff? Having witnessed difficulties when lawyers did not appear to understand the complex issues involved, the participation of those agencies in cases involving sexual offences, child abuse and—as we have heard, domestic violence—would surely help us to make progress.

The Solicitor-General

My hon. Friend makes an important point, but we need a two-stage process. CPS lawyers are increasingly expert in difficult and challenging cases such as rape and the prosecution of cases of sexual offences against children, but they must be aware of the wider context in which those offences take place, and must work closely with local agencies. It is also important, however, that they take part in training staff from those agencies so that they, in turn, are aware of the way in which the criminal justice system works and can reassure victims that a prosecution team will work together to ensure that they get justice.