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Response to the HMICFRS review of policing domestic abuse in the pandemic

On June 23rd the HMICFRS published a review of policing domestic abuse during the pandemic. The report highlights the backlog of cases, as well as making some recommendations to better support victims of abuse.

The report highlights and welcomes the innovative ways police forces within England and Wales adapted in responding to victims of domestic abuse during the pandemic.

It recognises the backlog of cases in the courts resulting in some domestic abuse victims choosing to withdraw their support of a police action, as well as highlighting 3 out of 4 reports result in no further action being taken by the police.

The report also highlights recommendations for immediate action, some of these are:

  • all forces should review why so many cases result in no further action being taken.
  • ensure sufficient resources are available for supporting domestic abuse victims while increasing access to specialist services, this is to include working with specialist services to ascertain why domestic abuse victims choose not to report to the police.
  • enable domestic abuse victims to feel safe throughout the conviction process.

We recognise the increased volume of calls to specialist services as reflective of our own experience. Farah Nazerr, the CEO of Women’s Aid states, ‘Survivors continue to highlight concerns with a lack of understanding about the nature and impact of coercive control, delays and backlogs in the criminal justice system, and poor support throughout the process as key reasons that cases do not proceed.’

Accessing the criminal justice system for domestic abuse survivors is complex and can take years. The backlog caused by the pandemic only exacerbates this. Understanding domestic abuse is paramount for any church leader and supporting individuals during this time can be a vital role of a local church, holding that space with a member of a congregation or community. We are already equipping many local churches world wide to respond well and will continue to ensure we are part of a world where women live free from fear and violence.

We’ll continue to be there for survivors, to speak up about the realities of violence against women and girls and to equip the Church to stand against domestic abuse and support survivors.

You can read the full report here.