Domestic Homicide reviews

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What is a Domestic Homicide Review and how do they work?

An agency (most commonly Sussex Police) can report any deaths due to, or suspected to have been caused by, domestic violence and abuse to the East Sussex Safer Communities Partnership. The Partnership then has to make a decision about whether to review the case, and if it decides to do so, it is responsible for conducting a review of what happened. The aim of a review is to identify how local professionals and organisations can improve the way they work together and identify what needs to be changed to reduce the risk of it happening again in the future. More information, and guidance published in 2016, can be accessed from the Home Office website.

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 those lessons to service responses including changes to policies and procedures as appropriate.
•    Help services work to prevent domestic violence and improve service responses for all domestic violence victims and their children through improved intra and inter-agency working.

What information is published locally?

Where the East Sussex Safer Communities Partnership has conducted a review, an Executive Summary and Overview Report will be published. The aim is to maintain public confidence, as well as to improve transparency about the processes in place across all agencies to protect victims of domestic violence and abuse.

Review into the death of Mrs B

Approved for publication in June 2014

Summary: unlawful killing of Mrs B by her husband Mr B, who was tried and found guilty of murder. The panel concluded that there was nothing to indicate that Mr B might kill a partner as he did. There is no evidence that leads to a view that this event might have been predicted.

Issues identified: the review identified that neither person was well known to services, and nor were the strains within their relationship well known. Mr B had sought psychological support in the past and in the months before this act for his low mood in relation to bereavements he had suffered. He was identified as having a moderately severe depression. Mr B was offered a psychological intervention, but this was not taken up as it appears he did not see the appointment letter and, when discussed with his GP, he had expressed some concern about accessing the service.
 
Lessons learned: lessons learnt from this case are limited because the engagement of this couple was itself limited with statutory services, and there was no contact with any specific domestic abuse agencies. However, some specific practice issues were identified in relation to accurate record keeping, as well as how information on psychological interventions is made available to members of the public. Broader lessons learnt linked to the importance of ensuring that there is clear, accessible information available to victim/survivors, that there are clear referral pathways to ensure that help and support are available (in particular, from health) and the importance of wider societal awareness and understanding of domestic abuse.
 
Actions we are taking: Ensuring practice around recording is fit for purpose; Developing a referral pathway for victims of a domestic abuse incident; Ensuring the information available to victims of domestic abuse at or following an incident is fit for purpose; Ensuring that there is a consistent DHR process across Sussex, in both the commission and dissemination of reviews; Developing a consistent response to victims of domestic abuse in primary care settings; Ensuring the information on psychological interventions are fit for purpose; Developing a consistent response to victims of emergency care; Ensuring that businesses are better informed and supported in relation to domestic abuse; Ensuring that the communities are better informed about domestic abuse.

•    Executive Summary Mrs B
•    Overview Report Mrs B 

Further information:
For further information contact James Rowlands, the Strategic Commissioner:
E-mail: James.Rowlands@brighton-hove.gcsx.gov.uk
Telephone: 01273 291032

 


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