PSNI needs to improve domestic abuse response

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The PSNI needs to improve how it responds to reports of domestic abuse, including by working with local partners to protect victims whose lives may be in danger due to violent and abusive partners.

That’s according to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, which examined how the PSNI protects vulnerable people in February.

In a report of that inspection published this month, the author’s stated: “The service’s response to reports of domestic abuse is not consistently good. The PSNI has identified tackling domestic abuse as a strategic priority, and officers and staff recognise its importance throughout the organisation. The service has also improved its completion of domestic abuse, stalking, harassment and honour-based violence (DASH) risk assessments, and its investigation of offences involving domestic abuse is good.”

DASH, the report explains, refers to a widely-used tool which aims to assist the force to respond positively to incidents of domestic abuse, to assess risk and vulnerability, and to implement immediate safeguarding actions.

“However, the PSNI needs to clarify who in the service has responsibility for making referrals to partner and voluntary agencies, improved partnership working in multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs) for high-risk domestic abuse victims and clear ownership of safeguarding responsibilities for medium and standard-risk victims,” the report adds.

MARACs are local meetings where information about domestic abuse victims, at risk of murder or serious harm, is shared by local agencies.