Safer Buckinghamshire Plan 2020-2023

Last updated: 15 December 2021 Download the plan (pdf, 967.9 KB)
Safer Buckinghamshire plan.png

Priority 4: Tackling domestic violence and abuse

Why is it a priority?

Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) makes up a large proportion of violent crime. It causes long lasting harm in families. There are high numbers of children living in abusive homes. Despite many incidents remaining unreported, the number of incidents which come to the attention of services is high.

There are cycles of repeat offending and repeat victimisation. Only a small number of offenders are convicted. We know that the long-term impact of experiencing domestic or sexual violence and abuse in a family environment can have a devastating effect on a person’s ability to cope throughout their life. This is the case for both adults and children. DVA also has increasing financial implications for public finances. We know that DVA is under-reported. It is often not readily identifiable or recognised by many professionals and the community. We will be seeking to build more effective interventions to reduce the occurrence of DVA.

In 2019, a detailed study on domestic violence and abuse in Buckinghamshire reviewed both national and local evidence of need and effective responses. The findings of this study form the basis for our priority actions.

What we plan to do

We will:

  • Focus on early intervention and prevention. We will introduce more evidence-based best practice techniques for identifying those at risk. We will respond more effectively by intervening early to reduce harm and prevent homelessness.
  • Engage with Early Help services to ensure appropriate early help is delivered to address adverse childhood experiences.
  • Introduce more effective and accessible offender services to change behaviours.
  • Better align specialist DVA services with mainstream services. This includes reviewing procedures and protocols and linking all relevant agencies to provide an improved, more holistic service.
  • Work to better understand the barriers and increase access to DVA services for male victims, victims with physical and learning or sensory disabilities and people with poor mental health and improve these services.
  • Work with the Council’s Housing Service to place the victim at the centre of our response. This includes reviewing housing allocations policies to ensure DVA cases receive appropriate support.
  • Work with Housing Associations to intervene early and prevent homelessness. We will also develop accommodation options for victims unable to access shelters.
  • When commissioning new DVA services from 2022 onwards we will:
    • Seek opportunities to incorporate or provide separately support services for ‘hidden’ victims. This can include older people, men, travellers, LGBT, people without recourse to public funds, services for those needing information in other languages.
    • Strengthen, formalise and connect the support received from mental health services and substance misuse services.
  • Set up a multi-agency partnership training programme to support all professionals in responding to victims, offenders and others affected, for example, children.
  • Produce clear public information explaining what DVA is, how to spot the signs and how to respond to it as a victim, witness or a concerned person.
  • Work with the Community Boards and other organisations, extend our Domestic Violence Champions scheme to raise awareness and encourage more consistent understanding of the issues and changes in legislation across our communities.
  • Introduce specialist learning events to share lessons learned from both local and national recommendations of Domestic Homicide Reviews.