Peter Aldous calls on the Government to confirm their commitment to root-and-branch reform of the courts system to remove the culture of confrontation, fear and intimidation to help more victims of domestic abuse or sexual offences have the confidence to proceed to prosecution.
Digitisation is designed to improve access to justice and, of course, efficiency in the court system. Last year, 150,000 people accessed court services online. To date, no fewer than 63,491 people have entered uncontested divorce proceedings online. The take-up rate is now 62% and growing. Some 94,975 people have issued or responded to civil money claims to date, and they report an 88% satisfaction rating. No fewer than 317,206 minor pleas have been entered since 2014, and if the House is wondering, 85% of those pleas were guilty and 15% were not guilty.
In Suffolk, nearly half of all victims of domestic abuse or sexual offences are unwilling to proceed with prosecutions. Clause 75 of the Domestic Abuse Bill will help to improve the situation, but will the Minister confirm that the Government are committed to root-and-branch reform to remove the culture of confrontation, fear and intimidation in the courts and tribunals system?
My hon. Friend raises a very important point, which was touched on by Members under Question 3. It is vital that we help victims of these terrible crimes to pursue the case right through the court system, rather than dropping it after reporting the crime, and there is a lot more to do there. The provisions in the Domestic Abuse Bill, introduced for its Second Reading last week, will help that, as will the increased funding to support victims of these terrible crimes, to which I referred earlier.
View Waveney in a larger map