Piecing together the evidence

One of the questions that goes round and round is why the overall rate of domestic homicide has not budged really over the past 10 or 20 years despite the efforts of so many people locally and nationally to improve services for victims of domestic abuse. I was struck by two things this week which might hold a clue.

Firstly, we are presenting some of the early learning from our Insights data to a group of funders this week and so we were looking at some of the messages from the data. As a reminder, Insights data is collected from IDVAs, outreach workers, refuge workers, and a handful of other specialist roles such as ISVAs and Women’s Safety Workers. We collect data on several thousand cases a year from many different services, so it is a pretty good general reflection. I was struck that about 80% of women who engage with specialist services are separated/separating from their partner. Of course this links in part to the risks associated with the point of separation and the readiness of women to engage with help at this point.

Secondly, I looked at the notes a colleague had sent me from the DVCN conference just before Christmas where there was a focus on the Domestic Homicide Review process and the learnings from this. In contrast, Standing Together reported that out of the 30 DHRs that they had chaired, in about 2/3 of cases, the couple were living together.

Does this suggest that we need to work harder on offering support to women who do not wish to separate or for whom it is too dangerous to do so?

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7 Comments to “Piecing together the evidence”

  1. Unusually in Blackburn we have had 3 DHR’s and all the victims have been male.
    2 have been sons killing their fathers and we are currently reviewing our 3rd DHR.

  2. In Sheffield, where they have been intimate partners as opposed to family relationships we’ve had 2 who were separated / at the point of separating but 3 where they were still together. I think this is an interesting line of enquiry and something for commissioners / services to think about

  3. Let’s keep each other posted as our respective thinking develops?

  4. We know that risk often increases for victims of domestic abuse when they seek out or accept an offer of support. Many of the clients referred to our IDVA service are very aware of this, particularly if they have had a bad experience of seeking support from a friend, professional or family member who inadvertantly increased risk through a well intentioned but, nevertheless, unhelpful response. I agree very much that there is value in working harder, and in more creative ways, to engage those people who do not wish to seperate or for whom it is currently too dangerous. Maybe we need to think of creating more safe opportunities to make contact with these clients and then ensure that they can easily access support when they need it and feel ready? I am thinking more links with health, schools, CAB and general advice centres etc. I also think that we need to invest more in training and awareness raising, for professionals and the general public, so that when people do seek out support the response they receive is more likely to be helpful.

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