Better Response Needed To Protect Domestic Abuse Victims

Lawyers Welcome Government Action Following Report Criticising Police Response To Calls

28.03.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have welcomed plans by the Government to tackle the way police respond to calls about domestic abuse in England and Wales after a new report criticised several failings.

Home Secretary Theresa May is set to head up a group to ensure that the police implements recommendations contained in the report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

The report highlighted several areas for improvement in the way domestic abuse is dealt with by the police and lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who specialise in family law issues and have worked with many victims of domestic violence say it is crucial that forces across the country are encouraged to adopt best practice and given the resources they need to handle the issue appropriately.

Peter Morris, a family lawyer at Irwin Mitchell and expert in helping victims of domestic abuse said:

The report says there were 269,000 domestic-abuse-related crimes in England and Wales between 2012 and 2013, with 77 women killed by their partners or ex-partners in the year-long period.

Peter Morris added: “We have seen a number of serious cases where mental health issues in particular have not been appropriately dealt with. This has resulted in the killing of one partner by another. As well as being devastating for the family there are massive consequences for any dependant children who find themselves with no one to care for them.

“While we can try to help people who contact us for assistance, there needs to be a better system for sharing information between the police, health professionals and the person at risk.

“Police resources across the UK are incredibly stretched and while Theresa May’s task force is considering the implementation of recommendations it needs to also think about the funding and support forces received to make sure they are well equipped to be able to do their job.

“Anyone receiving serious threats from a partner or former partner is entitled to appropriate protection and there are court orders which can be sought to protect people from abuse and stop the abuser coming into their home. When we work with victims we also seek to put them in touch with other organisations that can offer support and advice so they understand they are not alone.

“It is crucial that people worried about domestic abuse have access to protection as soon as possible.  Legal protection can be obtained on an emergency basis without notice being given to the other party if necessary. Anyone facing issues of this nature should immediately obtain legal advice.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in helping victims of domestic violence.