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#Warwickshire Publishes its First #DomesticHomicideReview

Please see below for the news release issued by Nuneaton and Bedworth Safer Communities Partnership.

The Nuneaton and Bedworth Safer Communities Partnership (NABSCOP) has today, Thursday 14 May 2015, published the domestic homicide review into the death of a 38-year old woman who was killed by her ex-partner.

The abuse inflicted upon the woman during her relationship with the perpetrator culminated in her murder three years ago. Her body was found inside a car in Nuneaton on the 2nd January 2012. The perpetrator has been brought to justice and is currently serving a life sentence.

The domestic homicide review is an independent report, commissioned by Nuneaton and Bedworth Safer Communities Partnership in line with Home Office Guidance. The review seeks to establish what lessons can be learned to protect those who are vulnerable and at risk of harm.

Chair of Nuneaton and Bedworth Safer Communities Partnership, Cllr Bob Hicks, said:

“We offer our sincere condolences to the victim’s family and friends and request that the media respect the family’s desire for privacy at this difficult time.

“The family and friends made a valuable contribution to this report and we are very grateful to them. Despite this being a tremendously difficult process, their input helped to paint a fuller picture of the woman’s life and the extent of abuse suffered at the hands of the perpetrator. We would also like to express our thanks to the Victim Support Homicide Service for their work to support the victim’s family.

“The Nuneaton and Bedworth Safer Communities Partnership welcomes this report and there is a shared commitment to act upon its recommendations. The report highlights implications for all statutory and voluntary agencies in reaching out to people affected by domestic violence and abuse, identifying and reducing the risks, and putting actions in place to support people to remain safe.”

Speaking on behalf of the Domestic Homicide Review Panel commissioned by NABSCOP, Kathy McAteer, the Independent Chair and Author of the review, said:

“All agencies have a responsibility to identify and respond to people who are affected by domestic violence and abuse.”

“In this case there was a history of domestic abuse and clear evidence that the victim was at risk of serious harm. Actions have been taken, as a result of the panel’s recommendations, to strengthen working practices to better support people affected by domestic violence and abuse.

“Having met with people who knew the victim, we believe that at times the victim felt the police were powerless to protect her, in part due to the inadequacy of sanctions available.”

Lessons have been learned from the review in respect of individual and multi-agency intervention and as a result, improvements have already been made to how those at risk of domestic violence and abuse are supported across Warwickshire.

Actions taken to address the key recommendations include

  • The Warwickshire Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) has improved policies and procedures to reduce the risk to those subjected to a high risk of serious harm or homicide
  • Warwickshire County Council has commissioned four additional Independent Domestic Violence Advisors, including one to be based in Warwickshire hospitals, to provide intensive support to high risk victims. (This brings the total to six Independent Domestic Violence Advisors across the county.)
  • Front line hospital, GP, social care, mental health and probation staff have received enhanced training to identify domestic violence and abuse and respond appropriately so that agencies are alerted to high risk cases and information is shared
  • Warwickshire’s multi -agency referral protocol in cases of domestic abuse has been strengthened so that agencies have clear guidelines as to how they refer and respond to domestic violence and abuse
  • Warwickshire Police have reviewed their risk assessment and case management processes and strengthened processes to ensure that, where appropriate, specialist teams lead cases from the outset

The report also highlights the issue of the inadequacy of police sanctions available when police bail is breached. A letter has been sent to the Home Office to raise the national concern of police bail breaches, and that this should be included as a high risk indicator.

The report makes recommendations for action by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, George Eliot Hospital, Harmoni  GP out of hours services, Local  Criminal Justice Board, MARAC Steering Group, NHS England (West Midlands), NHS Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Warwickshire Probation Trust, Safer Warwickshire Partnership Board, South Warwickshire Foundation Trust, Warwickshire County Council – Substance Misuse and Children’s Services, Warwickshire Police and West Midlands Ambulance Service.

The full Overview Report, Executive Summary, Action Plan and response letter from the Home Office from this review can be viewed via the links below:

Overview Report DHR NB01/05.2015 (PDF 505 KB)

Executive Summary DHR NB01/05.2015 (PDF 115 KB)

Action Plan DHR NB01/05.2015 (PDF 215 KB)

Response from the Home Office DHR NB01/05.2015 (PDF 27 KB)

Copies of these documents can also be accessed from: www.nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk/communitysafety

If you or someone you know has experienced or is experiencing domestic abuse and would like support, call Warwickshire’s specialist domestic abuse helpline on free phone 0800 408 1552. Lines are open from Monday to Friday 9am until 9pm and on Saturday 8am until ​4pm​. ​The helpline is closed on Sunday. In an emergency dial 999.

 Other Useful Links

Home Office Statutory Guidance for the Conduct of Domestic Homicide Reviews

Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse (AADFA)

Talk 2 Someone – Warwickshire Against Domestic Abuse

In an emergency always call 999

Notes to Editor

The purpose of a domestic homicide review is to:

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 to change as a result;

Apply these lessons to service responses including changes to policies and procedures as appropriate; and

Identify what needs to change in order to reduce the risk of such tragedies happening in the future to prevent domestic violence homicide and improve service responses for all domestic abuse victims and their children through improved intra and inter-agency working.

Domestic Homicide Reviews are not inquiries into how the victim died or who is culpable.

The Nuneaton and Bedworth Community Safety Partnership was established in 1998 and aims to work together to reduce crime and disorder and make communities feel safer.

PLEASE NOTE: The family have requested that the media respect their privacy.

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