The circumstances surrounding every death that happens as a result of domestic violence will be automatically reviewed, under new laws which come into force today.
Up to two women are killed every week (100 a year) by their current or former partner in England and Wales.
And 21 men died from domestic abuse in England and Wales last year.
From today, all authorities that had contact with a victim, whether female or male, will be compelled by law to conduct thorough investigations.
“The police, probation, maybe health services, they’ll get together if they had contact with that person leading up to the death then they will review the processes, review what they did,” says Isobel Shirlaw from charity Refuge.
“Could they have done more?
It follows comments from Director of Public Prosecutions Keir
Starmer that teenage women are most at risk of abuse and more must be
done to tackle it.
with the police and health services, local authorities, probation,
voluntary groups and any other bodies connected to a victim will now
have to examine together exactly what went wrong and consider how to
spot the signs when someone’s life is in danger.
at the Crown Prosecution Service headquarters in central London on
Tuesday, Mr Starmer said too many prosecutions were failing and more
must be done to protect victims.
“There may be a next generation of domestic violence waiting in the wings, he said.
He also stressed the need for victims to be supported both during and after criminal proceedings.
pointed to British Crime Survey findings which showed young women
between the ages of 16 and 19 were most at risk of domestic abuse.
“What that tends to show is that there may be a next generation of domestic violence waiting in the wings.
“Domestic violence is serious and pernicious. It ruins lives, breaks up families and has a lasting impact,” he said.
is criminal. And it has been with us for a very long time, yet it is
only in the last 10 years that it has been taken seriously as a
criminal justice issue.