New report published by probation service critical of Community Rehabilitation Companies

A report published today by HM Inspectorate of Probation is highly critical of the work that Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) carry out with domestic violence offenders. The role of CRCs is to supervise and provide structured programmes for low risk offenders in the community (including post-custody supervision). The report found that although there has been a 23 % increase in offences related to domestic abuse recorded by the police in the year to March 2018, (representing nearly 600,000 offences), a small proportion of these offenders are being offered perpetrator programmes, the number of perpetrator programme starts had decreased in the two previous years for which figures are available and an increasing proportion of offenders were failing to complete the programme

The inspectors found that there were too few referrals to the nationally accredited Building Better Relationships programme, and that a range of non-evidence based programmes were being delivered. Overall there was found to be a lack of  staff knowledge and confidence to properly manage domestic violence offenders or to deliver the requisite programmes. The report found that: ‘The lack of knowledge, skill and time dedicated to managing domestic abuse led to considerable shortfalls in the quality of case management’

You can download the report here.

You can see an article in the Guardian covering this topic here.

Coverage on ITV webpage here.

Specialist Domestic Violence Courts – How special are they?

A report commissioned on Specialist Domestic Violence Courts (SDVC) by the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, found evidence of defendants ‘gaming the system’ by pleading not guilty to domestic violence offences in the hope that the domestic violence complainant will not turn up at court and the case will then be dismissed. This was confirmed in observations of 170 domestic violence cases in which significant numbers of defendants changed their pleas from not guilty to guilty at the last minute when the complainant did appear at the court. The authors of the report emphasised that because of the nature of domestic violence crimes, and complainants’ vulnerability to ongoing coercive control, they may not appear in court as a result of intimidation. The authors argue that this reinforces the need for well-funded Independent Domestic Violence Advocates  (IDVA) services and for adequate training for magistrates and court staff in order to support victims of domestic violence to pursue prosecutions. Cuts to IDVA services and for training for sentencing and SDVC court staff are a concern.  Of interest for our study, the authors note that defendants cited alcohol misuse on the part of complainants as a way to undermine her claims of victimisation. In addition, alcohol intoxication as mitigation for an offenders’ behaviour was observed to go unchallenged by courts although this is not part of sentencing guidelines. The report notes: ‘There were concerns that the most frequent mitigation was that the perpetrator was in drink and that the courts did not, in any hearing, point out that there is no known causative link between the two’

You can access the report here.

 

Respect launch revised standards framework designed to ensure safe, effective, accountable work with perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse

 

Respect is the UK membership organisation for work with domestic violence perpetrators, male victims of domestic violence and young people’s violence in close relationships. In 2015-16, it was estimated that 2 million adults aged 16 to 59 were victims of domestic violence in England and Wales alone, with 1.03 million domestic abuse related incidents recorded by the police during the year. Domestic abuse-related crimes now account for 1 in 10 of all criminal offences. Respect believes every local area should offer comprehensive specialist support services for survivors of domestic violence and abuse.

CEO of RESPECT Jo Todd explains:

“Survivors deserve more than support; they need to know that agencies are working together to deal with perpetrators effectively. That means providing opportunities for perpetrators to change, but it also means holding them to account and taking steps to disrupt and prevent future violence and abuse.”

Respect have published the third edition of The Respect Standard an evidence based framework which sets out criteria for working safely and effectively with perpetrators of DVA including integrated support services. First published in 2008 the Respect Standard is regularly revised to ensure it is reflective of current practice and emerging evidence. The third edition of The Standard encompasses all work carried out with perpetrators including: early interventions, behaviour change programmes, high intensity case management and disruption activities. It aims to covers the whole cohort of perpetrators: whether they be in straight or in same sex relationships, motivated to change or not. The third edition also allows services who offer interventions with people with different levels of risk and need to apply for accreditation.

Achieving Respect accreditation enables organisations to evidence their good practice and remain accountable to stakeholders via a robust and thorough full scrutiny audit which carried out by expert assessors. To ensure that all services meet or exceed quality standards in management, intervention delivery, diversity and equality and multiagency work this audit consists of a desk top review, site visits, dip sampling of client work videos and interviews with staff and stakeholders. It is underpinned by 10 core principles including ‘do no harm’, ‘gender matters’, ‘safety first’ and ‘sustainable change’.

The official launch event took place at the House of Commons and was hosted by Thangam Debonnaire MP and attended by 60 invited guests, including specialists in the field of domestic violence and abuse and parliamentarians with an interest in this vital area of work.

Sarah Newton MP writes in the introduction that the framework:

‘focuses on perpetrator interventions, and makes sure they are delivered professionally and competently and are effective in reducing harm. Most importantly, the Standard ensures that further harm is not inflicted on survivors or their children, something which is vital if we are to ensure support and safety for the survivor and help them move on with their lives.’

To download a copy of the framework and the accompanying outcome framework please visit the Respect Website here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stalking report published by HMIC

 

stalking

 

 

 

 

 

A report called ‘The Victim Journey’ investigating stalking and harassment has been published by Dr Holly Taylor-Dunn, Professor Erica Bowen and Professor Liz Gilchrist from the Centre for Violence Prevention at Worcester University. The work was commissioned by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate Constabulary and covers in-depth qualitative interviews with three themes: the nature of stalking and harassment disclosed by participants, the impact of stalking and harassment on the victims and the views and experiences of investigation by the police and where relevant the CPS.

The key messages from the report were that the nature of stalking has a significant impact on the physical, emotional and psychological well being of the victims. The majority of the participants had made major changes to their daily routines to avoid offenders. Half the women felt unsafe and many had installed security systems. The report concluded it is imperative for police to be given time to talk to victims about the impact of stalking and harassment.

Please follow the link to read the report in full here.

 

Alcohol study shows moderate reductions in alcohol admissions and violent and sexual crimes associated with local alcohol licensing policies

bmj epidemol

 

A news study published in the BMJ Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health  shows there is a moderate reduction in alcohol admission and violent and sexual assaults as a result of local alcohol licensing laws. This study used an innovative methodology to test whether local licensing laws really did have an effect on crimes and alcohol admissions compared to control areas who did not have local alcohol licencing restrictive laws. The authors used Home Office licensing data (2007–2012) to identify (1) interventions: local areas where both a cumulative impact zone and increased licensing enforcement were introduced in 2011; and (2) controls: local areas with neither.

You can access a summary of the study and a PDF of the paper here.

A new article in Plos One indicates that IPV adversely impacts on health over a 16 year period and across generations

 

plos one australian longitudinal study

Researchers in an Australian study have shown the impact of intimate partner violence  (IPV) on long term health problems for women and their children using longitudinal data. They found this for all cohorts of the women recruited in the Australian Longitudinal study on Women’s health, the participants are made up of  three birth cohorts (1973-78, 1946-1951 and 1921-26). For all cohorts, women who had lived with IPV were more likely to report poorer mental health, physical function and general health and higher levels of bodily pain.

The findings did show some generational differences for example younger women showed a reduction in health association with the onset of IPV which was not apparent for women in the older two groups.

The women were originally randomly selected from the Australian Medicare (i.e. national health insurer) database in 1996 and asked if they would participate in the longitudinal and health wellbeing survey.

 Please find more information on the paper here.

 

‘The Concept and Measurement of Violence against Women and Men’ has been published by Policy Press

Violence against men and women book

A book published by Sylvia Walby, Jude Towers et al addresses the extent to which violence against women is currently hidden; how violence should be measured; how research and new ways of thinking about violence could improve its measurement; and how improved measurement could change policy. It offers practical guidance on definitions, indicators and coordination mechanisms, including for the measurement of femicide, rape, domestic violence, and FGM.

The book reflects on the theoretical debates: ‘what is gender’, ‘what is violence’ and ‘the concept of coercive control’, and introduces the concept of ‘gender saturated context’.

By analysing the socially constructed nature of statistics and the links between knowledge and power, the authors aim to set new standards and guidelines to influence the measurement of violence in the coming decades.

An open access version is available for free download if you copy the link below and add it to the browser:

https://oapen.org/search?identifier=623150 

Alternatively a paperback can be purchased from Policy Press: here