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Home Office info about DV, Police etc.(2 Posts)
I wrote a very cross email to the Home Secretary about Chrissie Chambers, who was murdered by her abusive ex. I've just received the reply. Although it avoids discussing that particular case, it contains a lot of up-to-date information on DV policy.
Posting it here in case anybody finds it useful. It's fairly long.
Direct Communications Unit
2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
Switchboard 020 7035 4848 Fax: 020 7035 4745 Textphone: 020 7035 4742
Thank you for your e-mail of 8 June to the Home Secretary about the polices
concern for victims of domestic violence. As I am sure you will appreciate, the
Home Secretary receives a lot of correspondence and is unable to respond
to each e-mail individually. Your e-mail has been passed to the Direct
Communications Unit and I have been asked to reply.
Domestic violence is unacceptable and no one should have to experience it. I
must explain that neither Government Ministers nor officials can intervene in
the proceedings of individual cases. This is not due to any lack of concern,
but because to do so would undermine the principle that the judiciary is
entirely independent of Government.
The Government would like to reassure you that it is very committed to
tackling domestic violence and bringing those who are perpetrators to justice.
You can learn more about our approach at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crime/
The Government has been working hard to raise the awareness and
understanding of domestic violence and improve the delivery across the
statutory sector, particularly with the police. It is worth noting that the police
themselves have made strenuous efforts to change their approach towards
addressing domestic violence.
All police forces have measures in place to ensure that officers are aware of
domestic violence and have the knowledge and skills to deal with it effectively.
In 2004 the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) issued guidance on
investigating domestic violence incidents to all police forces and rolled out
training on the guidance for all officers including compulsory sessions for
all probationer police officers. The guidance was refreshed by the National
Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) and reissued in March 2008. It is now
part of a renewed emphasis on policing domestic violence.
The guidance highlights the importance of a victims safety and of referring
them to specialist support services. It also states that officers should be
vigilant to domestic violence when investigating child and vulnerable adult
abuse given the concurrence between these two crimes.
The NPIA is also now in the process of consulting with partner agencies and
key voluntary groups with a view to reviewing their domestic abuse training
modules. They are keen to provide more detailed training for officers in
areas such as stalking and harassment, honour-based violence, risk and risk
In addition, the Coalition Government takes stalking and harassment very
seriously and is committed to taking forward work to address these issues
as part of its wider work on violence against women and girls. We are
working with charities that support victims, ACPO and the Crown Prosecution
Service to raise awareness about this issue with the police and prosecutors to
improve the services that victims receive.
The Government will also continue to support the National Stalking
Helpline which provides advice to victims of stalking and harassment.
You can contact them by telephone on 0300 636 0300 or by e-mail:
As with all offences the decision to arrest is a decision for the police officer
involved but the guidance makes clear that victims should not be asked
whether they require an arrest to be made. In the past, police arriving at the
scene could find that the alleged offender had already left the premises and
that the victim was not visibly injured and reluctant to press charges. Even
if the police felt that the abuser represented a threat to the victim they were
powerless to arrest. Now, those victims who are too scared to come forward,
or those who are dissuaded from pressing complaints by partners or family
members, are free from the pressures of making the decision.
Action at all stages of the police response should ensure the effective
protection of victims and children, while allowing the Criminal Justice System
to hold the offender to account and an effective investigation to be completed
in all reported cases of domestic violence.
Ultimately, the police response needs to be tailored and include a risk
assessment to ensure that victims needs are considered.
All police forces now also have dedicated Domestic Violence Officers, who
are in place to guide officers on scene. This is in keeping with the polices
desire to reduce domestic violence re-offending, while encouraging victims to
come forward. In the future, forces can be held accountable if their domestic
violence practice and policy is not up to the standard ACPO sets.
If you have a complaint about the handling of a case by the police you can
contact the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Details can
be found on their website at www.ipcc.gov.uk and they can be contacted
directly at 90 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6BH or Tel: 08453 002 002.
In addition there are many specialist agencies that can offer support and
advice to victims of domestic violence. You may wish to contact the 24-hour
National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
With regard to Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs), the
Government has decided there will be a pilot to fully evaluate DVPOs in
Wiltshire, West Mercia and Manchester for 12 months from June 2011. This
will allow the Home Office and police forces to assess the effectiveness of the
DVPOs in protecting victims and preventing repeat victimisation.
Direct Communications Unit
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