Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

All domestic murders to be reviewed

Every domestic murder in England and Wales will now be automatically reviewed to ensure lessons are learned

Every domestic murder in England and Wales will now be automatically reviewed to ensure lessons are learned.

The domestic homicide reviews came into effect on Wednesday as Britain's leading prosecutor warned that teenage girls have become the most likely victims of domestic abuse as they are preyed on by a new generation of wife beaters.

Mandatory case reviews of every domestic murder by a current or former partner will be carried out by all the agencies involved, including police, health and probation services.

About two people are killed every week by their current or former partner in England and Wales, according to Home Office figures.

The Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (Caada) charity, which backs the moves, said the reviews will help ensure that "lessons are learned and areas for urgent development are identified".

"As the reviews will be published and publicly available, they will provide an open and transparent means of reviewing practice, thereby increasing the safety of other local victims in the future," said a spokeswoman. "The reviews will also enable all agencies to consolidate and build on the important work that has occurred to date around risk identification in relation to domestic abuse victims, particularly in high-risk cases."

Sandra Horley, chief executive of national domestic violence charity Refuge, said the reviews would "only truly be effective if the lessons learned result in real change in practice on the ground level".

She added: "This will not happen without sufficient funding. But with every homicide costing the state £1 million, reducing the domestic homicide rate not only makes moral sense, but clear financial sense too."

Frank Mullane, co-ordinator of Action After Fatal Domestic Abuse (AAFDA), added that the reviews will be meaningful "if professionals embrace them fearlessly and creatively".

"It is by seeing these tragedies through the eyes of victims that we will begin to understand their lives and the choices and decisions they made often under great duress," he said. "Only then will we be likely to design the services that enable individuals, mostly women, to find ways out of abuse to long-term safety."

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