Domestic Homicide Reviews
Section 9 of the Domestic Violence, Crime
and Victims Act 2004
– Domestic violence accounts for 18% of all violent incidents (Crime in England and Wales
– 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
– 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.
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-
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
-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.
– 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
– 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.
Implementation is supported with the following:
– Statutory Guidance, including templates to be used throughout the
– 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
- All notifications of whether you decide to a review, or not to review a
homicide should also be sent to the following inbox
– 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
– 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.
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
– 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.
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
- 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
– 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
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
- 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
– All notifications of whether you decide to a review, or not
to review a homicide should also be sent to this address.