The actual outcome of most DV cases seems to be dominated by dismissals and by a persisting gap between the number of complaints and the number of convictions over time. Moreover, the particular vulnerability of victims of violence in an intimate relationship often translates into increased cooperation difficulties with the justice system, which has been recognised as one of the factors influencing the outcomes of criminal proceedings. This project's focus was on: (i) identifying frailties in risk assessment procedures; (ii) identifying "best" practices in collecting and preserving evidence; (iii) assessing the specific needs of DV victims related namely to the absence of effective needs assessment mechanisms, to the personal characteristics of the victim and to the circumstances of the crime.

The main objective of this project was to develop practice-based research aiming at identifying crucial aspects of supporting mechanisms available to DV victims within the criminal justice system and of elements that influence the way victims are being supported and protected at three different levels: i) at the entrance door (security forces receiving the complaints and follow-up criminal procedures); ii) at the prosecutorial stage (public prosecutors' initiatives and decisions taken); iii) in court (court procedures and final decisions).

The principal focus of the research was intimate partner violence against women age 18+. Target groups of the project were police officers, public prosecutors, judges and victims' support services. Intimate partner violence includes sexual abuse and harassment, emotional, verbal & psychological abuse, financial abuse and exploitation, coercive control, stalking and neglect, as well as physical violence (assault). We understand Intimate Partner Violence as violence by current or former partners.

On this homepage the terms 'victim' and 'perpetrator' are used throughout. We want to stress, that the terms victim and perpetrator do not presuppose a criminal conviction, and there may be no formal legal finding of guilt or innocence. We are also aware that the terms reflect women's experiences and the wide range of forms of abuse in families and partnerships only in part. We decided to use both terms for simplicity. We are conscious also that the word connotes helplessness and passivity, and that this is not characteristic of all the women who endure domestic violence.