Domestic homicide and suicide

The issue

Over the last decade there has been no significant reduction in the number of domestic homicides each year. In 2011, Domestic Homicide Reviews were established on a statutory basis to ensure that lessons are learnt when a person has died as a result of domestic abuse.

Now called Domestic Abuse Related Death Reviews, these reviews can bring a huge amount of value to local agencies, however, little is known nationally about whether their recommendations are implemented effectively, and actions can drift over time.

The vision

There is collective responsibility and accountability for the implementation of recommendations made through Domestic Abuse Related Death Reviews, to drive positive change for victims and survivors of domestic abuse and ultimately prevent future deaths.

The Commissioner’s work

Preventing domestic abuse related deaths, including domestic homicides and suicides, is a key priority for the Domestic Abuse Commissioner. The Commissioner and everyone in her team work to ensure every national agency – from the police to health services – is doing everything they can to protect victims and prevent deaths as a result of domestic abuse.

The Commissioner and her team meet regularly with senior representatives in the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office, respond to national consultations, and provide evidence and advice to national and local government. We also work regularly with domestic abuse services at a national and local level, people bereaved by domestic abuse, victims and survivors, academics and other experts.

Within the practice and partnerships team the Commissioner has established a domestic homicides and suicides oversight mechanism, a key commitment within the Government’s Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan.

As part of this work, in 2023, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner published four studies conducted by the HALT research team at Manchester Metropolitan University – a leading research project focussed on domestic homicide. See below for more information about the HALT research and links to the publications.

Following the establishment of the oversight mechanism, the Commissioner will publish annual reports setting out key findings from domestic abuse related death reviews. This will include recommendations for local agencies and national government to better learn lessons and prevent future deaths.

If you are a victim or survivor of domestic abuse, or if you have lost a loved one to domestic abuse, and you have written to the Domestic Abuse Commissioner to share your perspective, your voice is integral to this work. Your email will be read by the Commissioner’s team and used anonymously to drive policy and practice change to prevent future deaths.

HALT study research briefings

The Domestic Abuse Commissioner commissioned researchers at the HALT study at Manchester Metropolitan University to conduct analysis into the themes and trends for recommendations within Domestic Homicide Reviews (now Domestic Abuse Related Death Reviews).

Published in December 2023, the briefings focussed on the following four key areas: criminal justice, health services, children’s services, and adult social care.

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