Fatal domestic abuse reviews renamed to better recognise suicide cases

The Home Office has made changes to reviews conducted after fatal domestic abuse, so that they better recognise often hidden victims of domestic abuse who die by suicide, coercive and controlling behaviour, and economic abuse.

This means that a review can be commissioned whenever there is a death that has, or appears to have, resulted from domestic abuse.  As well as physical abuse, this includes controlling or coercive behaviour and emotional and economic abuse, in line with the legal definition of domestic abuse introduced in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

The government has also announced that the name of these reviews will be changed from ‘Domestic Homicide Review’ to ‘Domestic Abuse Related Death Review’, to better reflect all deaths which fall within their scope. The changes will be brought into law via an amendment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill.

The Domestic Abuse Commissioner welcomes these changes, which she hopes will increase the number of reviews which take place, as well as improving the quality of reviews, and providing greater clarity for agencies which conduct them.

A Domestic Homicide Review is a multi-agency review which seeks to identify and implement lessons learnt from deaths which have, or appear to have, resulted from domestic abuse. Their aim is to better protect victims in future and prevent further tragedies – by highlighting to the police and other agencies what can be done in future to strengthen the response.

The Domestic Abuse Commissioner is setting up a Domestic Homicide and Suicide Oversight Mechanism to examine Domestic Homicide Reviews and understand how we can better learn lessons and prevent future deaths.