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Examination of Witness

Part of Domestic Abuse Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 29th October 2019.

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Zoe Billingham:

I can give you a quick rundown of the areas that we identified in our last published report, which was in February 2019.

A better understanding around coercive and controlling behaviour: while frontline officers better understand domestic abuse and what their role is in keeping victims safe and bringing perpetrators to justice, the nuances around coercive control still need to be improved. We recognise that many forces have invested very heavily in training—in particular, face-to-face training, which has been successful. However, there is still further to go.

Issues around identifying risk: how much risk is a victim of domestic abuse at? There is still a lot of variance in how officers identify and classify that risk and inconsistencies in how that is being supervised. In our last report, we expressed real reservations and concerns around the drop-off in pre-charge bail and the protections that that may afford. We are also concerned about the number of occasions on which cases are discontinued on the basis that the victim does not support police action. We would also like to see forces take more action to receive feedback directly from victims of domestic abuse themselves, so they can tailor their services more appropriately to put the victim at the heart of the services provided.