HMICFRS praises police response to domestic abuse during pandemic

Published on 23 June 2021
'Brilliant examples of forces using innovative new ways to keep victims safe' – report finds
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Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has released a report praising police in England and Wales for responding proactively to domestic abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The HMICFRS's report found that the pandemic had put domestic abuse victims at greater risk, but it said police had made good use of technology and worked with partner agencies to find new and innovative ways to support victims.

'Victims of domestic abuse were at greater risk during the COVID-19 pandemic when lockdown restrictions made it even harder to escape their abusers. The police responded proactively by communicating with known victims, reaching-in to those locked down, rather than waiting for them to reach out', said Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham.

'We saw brilliant examples of forces up and down the country using innovative new ways to keep victims safe during the pandemic.'

This report highlights the extraordinary efforts and determination shown by police officers and staff across England and Wales to prevent domestic abuse and protect victims during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It highlights that, despite the challenges of the pandemic, police forces continued to prioritise responding to domestic abuse and the focused activity they delivered was effective in helping to keep people safe.

The College of Policing has developed many products that have helped the service improve its understanding, identification and recording of domestic abuse, while supporting continuing efforts to find new and innovative ways to protect victims, including improved video and telephone contact.

The College has developed principles to enable forces to adopt telephone contact methods that ensure the greatest benefits to the investigation whilst also managing risks to victims.

We know domestic abuse has a devastating impact on individuals and communities so we are maintaining strong links with stakeholders, victims’ commissioners and support charities to provide a consistent coordinated response and improve the services and protection available to victims.

David Tucker, head of crime and criminal justice, College of Policing