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Getting it right for victims of domestic abuse

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Learning the lessons and improving the response for victims of domestic abuse was the aim of a meeting and action plan funded and supported by Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens.

Today at The Campus, Weston-super-Mare, organisations involved in responding to domestic abuse such as councils, the police and charities came together to collate all the learning from Domestic Homicide Reviews in Avon and Somerset.

The purpose of a domestic homicide review is to consider the circumstances that led to a domestic violence death and identify where responses to the situation could have been improved. Domestic Homicide Reviews became law in 2011 as part of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “We must remember that behind every Domestic Homicide Review is a person, maybe a mother, grandmother, brother or colleague, someone who was controlled, abused, isolated and in the end, not recognised before it was too late.

“We owe it to that victim, their family and our communities to make sure that the same opportunities are not missed again and that we truly learn and improve how we work together.

“Having read the report collating the learning from Domestic Homicide Reviews in Avon and Somerset, it is clear that there are a number of things that we can do, that will make a difference. We need to get better at coordinating campaign work highlighting domestic abuse, improve domestic abuse training for staff and health professionals as well as information sharing between organisations. We also need to take a hard look at whether our multi-agency working is really meeting the needs of high risk victims.

“Today was a really important step in making sure that we all work better together to tackle domestic abuse.”

Report author Dave Warren said: “There are 27 recommendations from this project which will improve the service for victims of domestic abuse. It is proposed that a Development Group should be established to drive the implementation of these recommendations forward however a number of recommendations which require no funding or additional resource could be implemented immediately.

“There is a great deal of enthusiasm and good-will from everyone involved with this work and identifying what needs to be done was the first step, acting upon the findings is the critical next step to reducing the number of domestic abuse victims who tragically become Domestic Homicide statistics.”

You can read the Avon & Somerset Domestic Homicide Review Action Plan, funded by the PCC here.

Today’s event was attended by the Domestic Homicide Review Lead at the Home Office, Birol Mahmet, report author Dave Warren and BBC producer and journalist Rachel Stonehouse as well as domestic abuse leads from the five local authorities across Avon and Somerset.

Posted on Wednesday 2nd March 2016
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