Director of Public Health Annual Report 2021: Domestic Violence and Abuse
Summary and recommendations
This report shows that domestic violence and abuse is common, but often hidden and underreported. The impacts for victims, survivors, their families, and society are serious and wide-reaching. In preparing this report, we have reviewed the latest data, evidence and looked at current service provision.
Preventing domestic abuse from occurring must be a priority and we are supporting our schools to implement recent RSHE (relationships, sex and health education) changes that include recognising domestic abuse and abusive relationships, coercive control, consent, and mutual respect in friendships and relationships. Looking ahead, the new multi-agency Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board will be championing good practice in awareness raising, education and training and the provision of high-quality support and advocacy services. Services for victims (including children) and perpetrators will be further developed to meet the needs of diverse groups and people with protected characteristics, recognising that anyone can be a victim. Starting with partners on the Board, all organisations will be encouraged to adopt measures to keep employees and service users safe from domestic abuse including during home working, remote digital working, and consultations. The Board will also explore how we can share and learn from past and current domestic homicide reviews to understand how such tragedies can be prevented in the future.
The following recommendations should, in addition to statutory duties for support for people living in safe accommodation, inform the Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board strategy and delivery plan.
- The Domestic Abuse Board should support awareness raising of domestic abuse through coordinated, county-wide participation in a selected national campaign.
- The Domestic Abuse Board should consider how bystander training could be utilised locally and promoted, as an evidence-based intervention to challenge harmful attitudes, language and behaviour relating to domestic abuse for people of all ages.
- Buckinghamshire Council Community Safety team should consider how to increase the diversity within the domestic violence and abuse champions scheme by actively recruiting network members that reflect the diversity of people that may experience domestic abuse.
- The Domestic Abuse Board should develop and roll-out high-quality, shared, scenario-based training across Buckinghamshire for key stakeholders and front-line staff. Primary care should also consider implementing the IRIS training package as an effective evidence-based training programme across Buckinghamshire.
- The Domestic Abuse Board should oversee the development of a Buckinghamshire domestic abuse referral pathway for all staff to follow, to ensure timely and responsive delivery of services, fully understood by frontline staff and accessible to victims seeking help.
- All board member agencies to support the development of an evidence base for what works for perpetrators, to inform commissioning of promising interventions, and evaluation of their effectiveness.