17. Domestic Violence Cases

17.1   Prosecutors should have regard to Guidelines for Prosecuting Domestic Violence Cases of the Prosecutions Division.

17.2   In prosecuting domestic violence cases, the prosecution must consider the safety of the victim, any children and other persons involved, the situation of the family and the likely effect of any prosecution on its members.

17.3   Domestic violence may become more frequent and serious the longer it continues. Accordingly, a prosecution may be required, according to the standard criteria, even if a victim does not wish it to proceed. In making such decisions the prosecution is obliged to take into account the security of the persons at risk and the public interest.

17.4   The prosecution should take into account, when deciding on the course to be taken:

  1. the objective seriousness of the alleged offending behaviour, including any use of a weapon, and the use of alcohol or drugs;
  2. the victim’s injuries (physical and/or psychological);
  3. the risk of the accused reoffending;
  4. any planning of the alleged offence;
  5. any threats made before or after the alleged offence;
  6. the presence of children during the alleged offending;
  7. any continuing threat to the health and safety of the victim or anyone else involved;
  8. the current state of the relationship between the accused and the victim;
  9. the history of the relationship, especially concerning any past violence;
  10. the accused’s criminal history, especially in connection with offences of violence.

17.5   If a victim is unwilling to testify, a decision to compel testimony requires serious consideration, and where the victim is the spouse of the accused, reference will need to be made to sections 57 and 57A of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance, Cap. 221. The prosecutor may by consent use the victim’s statement in evidence without requiring the victim to testify, under section 65B of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance, Cap. 221 and should consider whether any special procedures should be used.