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Domestic Homicide Reviews Section 9 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 Domestic Homicide – Domestic violence accounts for 18% of all violent incidents (Crime in England and Wales 2010/11). – Seven per cent of women and five per cent of men reported having experienced any domestic violence in 2010/11. – In the 2010/11 BCS, three-quarters (73%) of all incidents of domestic violence were experienced by repeat victims Of the victims interviewed, just under one-half (44%) were victimised more than once and nearly one-quarter (24%)were victimised three or more times – Latest published figures show that just over half of female victims of homicide aged 16 or over had been killed by their partner, ex-partner or lover (54%, 94 offences). In contrast, only five per cent of male victims aged 16 or over were killed by their partner, ex-partner or lover in 2009/10 (21 offences). – Based on the figures for the last 10 years, between 104 and 146 people are murdered by their partner or ex-partner every year and there is little sign of any longer term reduction in this trend. – A domestically violent incident which results in the death of the victim is often not a first attack. Domestic violence is frequently repeated by the perpetrator and the violence can escalate over time. Therefore, serious injury and homicides in domestic violence cases can sometimes be preventable. 2 The purpose of a domestic homicide review – Establish what lessons are to be learned from the domestic homicide regarding the way in which local professionals and organisations work individually and together to safeguard victims; – Identify clearly what those lessons are both within and between agencies, how and within what timescales they will be acted on, and what is expected to change as a result; – Apply these lessons to service responses including changes to policies and procedures as appropriate; and – Prevent domestic violence homicide and improve service responses for all domestic violence victims and their children through improved intra and inter- agency working. 3 What a DHR does not do -A DHR does not seek to establish who is culpable for the homicide this is a matter for the coroners and criminal courts to decide. -A DHR does not seek to proportion blame or point the finger at individuals or agencies. - A DHR should not form part of any disciplinary proceedings. Implementation – Section 9 was implemented in England and Wales on 13th April 2011. – Northern Ireland will be implementing the provision at a later date, to be confirmed. – This creates an expectation for local areas to undertake a multi-agency review following a domestic violence homicide. – The provision allows the Secretary of State, in particular cases (e.g. when a local area fails to initiate a review itself) to direct that a specified person or body establishes or participates in a review. – Section 9 also introduces a duty for every person or body establishing or participating in the review to have regard to statutory guidance. 5 Implementation Implementation is supported with the following: – Statutory Guidance, including templates to be used throughout the review process – An online training tool and knowledge test – A web page hosted by the Home Office which will include national lessons and examples of effective practice – Information leaflets for friends, family members and employer/work colleagues who may choose to be involved in the review process Notifications - All notifications of whether you decide to a review, or not to review a homicide should also be sent to the following inbox DHREnquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk – You should send this notification as soon as possible after the decision on the DHR is made, even if you have yet to appoint your chairperson. – This decision should be made within 1 month of receiving the notification of the homicide from the police. Domestic homicide review process (snapshot) Domestic Homicide occurs CSP informed and decides on whether the homicide meets Criteria met: CSP commission criteria of DHR (Within one month of homicide) DHR and Review Panel Conduct DHR: Chair to draft Overview Review Panel establishes terms of Report, Executive Summary and Action reference, appoints Chair and Plan (Within 6 months of CSP decision to commissions agency IMRs and hold DHR) relevant reports Review agreed by QA Group assesses Review as Review Panel and adequate/inadequate according to sent to commissioning guidance. CSP agree Review and CSP Review is published, stored centrally send to Home Office by HO and lessons learned disseminated by QA Group via bulletin and web page. 8 Quality assurance & effective practice – Quality Assurance for completed DHRs rests with an expert group made up of statutory and voluntary agencies managed by the Home Office. – This group has responsibility for quality assuring the reports based on the statutory guidance. If the group finds that amendments need to be made to a report, they will liaise directly with the team responsible for the review to explain the rationale behind this. – This group meets on a quarterly basis and also has the responsibility for examining all decisions not to undertake a review. 9 What if a decision is made not to conduct a review? - We would expect almost all domestic homicides to meet the criteria for a review as set out in section 3.1 of the guidelines- although we recognise that the nature and length of the review will need to be proportionate to the range of previous contact which agencies may have had with the victim. - The Community Safety Partnership must inform the Home Office of any decision not to undertake a review by writing to DHREnquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk. - The Quality Assurance Panel will examine all decisions not to conduct a review and will feed back to areas on such decisions. - As stated at section 9(2) of the Domestic violence Crime and Victims At (2004) Act, the Secretary of State may in a particular homicide direct a specified person or body within subsection (4) to establish, or to participate in, a domestic homicide review. Review of implementation – There has already been some concern regarding the creation of new duties for some areas, particularly in light of the current financial climate – We will review this policy after one year of implementation to ascertain a more accurate representation of the impact and resource implications the policy is having on local areas – This will also provide an opportunity to update our guidance and templates where necessary and reassess the Serious Case Review process following the recommendations of the Munro Review 11 Who will pay for independent authors and independent panel chairs? - We do not believe there is a need to outsource this work and do not recommend local areas paying for independent chairs and authors. The statutory guidance provides the templates and direction necessary to undertake a homicide review and we believe the expertise to conduct these reviews is already available in local areas. - We do not expect the new review process to impose new financial burdens on any single area and many CSP areas will not have to undertake a review in the first year of operation. - We would expect any costs incurred to be absorbed at a local level as they are currently for the voluntary reviews which have already been conducted. - We will carefully review this policy after the first year of implementation to establish a more accurate picture of the impact the policy is having on local areas. Contacts and notifications – All enquiries should be forwarded to the DHR enquiries inbox: DHREnquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk – All notifications of whether you decide to a review, or not to review a homicide should also be sent to this address.
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