A NEW dedicated domestic abuse courtroom in Cheshire has seen 168 cases since it opened a month ago.

Cheshire’s domestic abuse court was previously based at Chester Magistrates Court but was put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.

The specialist court resumed at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on Monday, April 4.

Any case where there is a charge for a domestic abuse offence will be heard and will remain there unless a trial is required.

This helps to ensure consistency in how cases are prepared and dealt with.

A dedicated police officer with specialist knowledge and skills is based at the court to liaise with the Crown Prosecution Service and police to ensure that there are no issues that could risk delaying the case, causing it to be re-listed or deferred to a later date.

Assistant Chief Constable Una Jennings said: “There is no doubt that the court is playing a crucial part in driving home how important it is to deliver justice for victims of domestic abuse as quickly as possible.

“From early observations we are seeing a positive effect on the number of guilty pleas from offenders and it is great to see, so early on, the impact that this court is having by cutting down on waiting times for cases to reach court and securing justice for victims and their families.

In its first month of operation, 168 cases have been listed and of these, 42 cases have been dealt with on the first appearance with 13 committed to crown court for trial, sentencing or plea hearing.

A total of 54 cases have been adjourned for pleas, trial or pre-sentence reports and eight cases have resulted in offenders being remanded into custody.

ACC Jennings added: “I made a pledge to tackle priority areas such as domestic abuse and violence against women and girls and I know that this court is helping to reinforce my message that domestic abuse has no place here in Cheshire.

“However, I know that we are only scratching the surface of this problem in our county.

“It is our aim that more victims of domestic abuse can see how this court is leading the way in tackling this abuse and have the confidence in us to deliver justice swiftly for them and remove these dangerous offenders from our streets and their homes.”

Anyone with concerns regarding domestic abuse can do so by calling 101, report it online via cheshire.police.uk

We know not all victims of domestic abuse want to speak to police, advice can be sought from the Open the Door website.