The police response to domestic abuse is not good enough and must be improved, finds HMIC inspection

The final report on the police response to domestic abuse has been released today, this is the press release:

The overall police response to victims of domestic abuse is not good enough and police forces need to take decisive action to rectify this, a report published today by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) finds, following an inspection of all 43 police forces in England and Wales.

In September 2013, HMIC was commissioned by the Home Secretary to inspect the police response to domestic violence and abuse. The report, Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse, found that while most forces and police and crime commissioners have said that domestic abuse is a priority for their areas, this isn’t being translated into an operational reality. HMIC is concerned to find that, despite the progress made in this area over the last decade, not all police leaders are ensuring that domestic abuse is a priority in their forces – it is often a poor relation to other policing activity.

HMIC found alarming and unacceptable weaknesses in some core policing activity, in particular the quality of initial investigation undertaken by responding officers when they are called to a scene. The report also identifies that officers may lack the necessary supervision, knowledge and skills effectively to tackle domestic abuse, and some have poor attitudes.

For the full press release and report –Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse, click links below:


Freedom Shropshire Team

Women’s Aid is urging Police forces across the country to improve response to domestic violence

HMIC report reveals scale of police failings on domestic violence cases

Only one fifth of perpetrators charged with a crime

Women’s Aid is urging Police forces to take immediate action to improve their response to domestic violence cases today, in light of a report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC) and research from Women’s Aid which both paint a clear picture of a poor quality and inconsistent response by the police to domestic violence which is causing harm and costing women their lives. The charity, which was involved in the Inspection of police forces in England and Wales, is highlighting that the HMIC report recognised that where police forces have shown leadership, and invested in training and their officers, responses to domestic violence are more effective.

West Mercia Police are urged to implement HMIC’s recommendations to ensure they are able to support the one in four women in Shropshire who will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

The Women’s Aid survey of 522 women staying in refuges shows:

  • When called to domestic violence incidents, the police charged the perpetrator with a crime in only 18.2% of cases
  • In 32.1% of cases, the police took no further action at all
  • 18.5% of women in refuges didn’t know if any action had been taken against the perpetrator after they called the police, suggesting police may not have kept them adequately informed on the progress of their cases
  • 3.2% of women reported being abused by the police after calling them to report domestic violence

Women’s Aid is calling for the police to be able to recognise and respond effectively to domestic violence, and coercive control in intimate relationships. This requires leadership, effective training and resource. The leaders within West Mercia Police and the local Police and Crime Commissioner are urged to sign up to the Women’s Aid Survivor’s Charter to demonstrate willingness to address the failings identified in the HMIC report. The Charter, which came out of an Inquiry into Women’s Access to Justice, details the minimum treatment a victim of domestic violence should be able to expect from the police and criminal justice agencies, and the rights they have to access justice for domestic violence. To review the charter, click link below:


Freedom Shropshire Team

Community Safety Strategy Consultation

Every three years Shropshire’s Safer Stronger Communities Partnership is required to produce a strategy which is based on an annual Strategic Assessment which identifies which crime types have increased or decreased and ‘vulnerable’ localities. The Assessment forms the basis of the strategy which sets out the priorities that the Partnership will focus on for the next three years.

The Partnership would like to have any feedback or comments on the strategy in respect of the priorities it sets out.

The closing date for comments or feedback is FRIDAY 28th FEBRUARY 2014.

You can download the Draft Strategy simply follow this link via the Freedom Shropshire Website –

Jo Berry and the Freedom Shropshire Team

Check out ‘Freedom Shropshire Special Edition Newsletter: Edition 7′

Check out

‘Freedom Shropshire Special Edition Newsletter:

Edition 7′

Edition 7 Newsletter Image

Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police pledge support to White Ribbon Day

Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police pledge support to White Ribbon Day

Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police have been pledging their support to the White Ribbon Campaign which started on Monday 25 November 2013, The International Day for the elimination of Violence Against Women.

White Ribbon Day offers the opportunity for people around the world to speak out, stand up and wear a ribbon for the women in their lives by pledging never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards them Supt Steve Cullen, Head of Protecting Vulnerable People said "This is an important message we are keen to support. We are using this opportunity to encourage anyone affected by domestic abuse to seek help from the police or other partner agencies.

"Domestic abuse takes many forms and ultimately is about control. It is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are, or have ever been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. It can be psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional."

You may be experiencing domestic abuse if your partner doesn’t allow you to control your finances, stops you seeing your family, controls your access to information, or even what you wear.

We are urging people to visit to find out more about domestic abuse because by understanding the smaller things that may constitute domestic abuse those affected may be able to do something about it sooner.

Domestic abuse may start with emotional abuse, but it can soon escalate. As the victim’s confidence becomes lower the abuse becomes worse until the victim cannot see a way out – and that’s what the abuser wants. But there is a way out, in fact there are many ways out and it starts by just being able to talk to someone.

Please tell someone – perhaps your closest friend or someone you trust such as a helpline who can help you decide what to do next.

Unfortunately domestic abuse is extremely common and stats indicate that 1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime – many of these on a number of occasions (source: Womens Aid). It is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact if we all acknowledged that domestic abuse does occur to a large proportion of people it would make it easier for the police to address.

Many people who are abused feel ashamed and do not want anyone else to find out. But the only person who should be ashamed is the abuser.

If you are being abused, you may not feel mentally strong enough to do anything about it.

Experience suggests that friends, families and neighbours are often aware or suspect that something is happening but, for one reason or another, are reluctant to get involved. This is a mistake. Domestic abuse ruins family life and has long term, serious consequences for everyone concerned. We are asking friends, neighbours and acquaintances to help the victims of domestic abuse by calling the police to report their concerns. Friends and family seeking to support those who are experiencing, or who have experienced, domestic abuse can also visit or call the helpline for advice 0800 408 1552.

The hidden victims are children who may be affected too by seeing or hearing the abuse or being abused themselves. Bill Longmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, said: “I am pleased to pledge my support for this important campaign. I will be proud to raise awareness by wearing a white ribbon and I hope others will do the same.

“Tackling domestic abuse is one of my key priorities. I am working closely with the police, councils, community safety partnerships, health and the voluntary sector to protect the most vulnerable people in our society, including those suffering domestic abuse.

“So far I have been extremely impressed by the dedication and the professionalism of the people I have met and I am encouraged that, if we all work together, we can continue protect those most at risk and prosecute those who commit such crimes.”

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball said "Everyone has the right to live their lives the way they want to live it and to be who they want to be without fear of being intimidated by others. We all have a role to play in eradicating this sort of behaviour. It isn’t simply a case of what will "they" do about it. The people working in this field are doing a great job, but we can all help by making it abundantly clear that violence against women and girls in whatever form it takes is just not acceptable".

White Ribbon Day also marks the start of 16 days of action to end gender-based violence, culminating in International Human Rights Day on 10 December. Supt Steve Cullen said "With this in mind, we have a clear message for perpetrators of domestic abuse too – abusing your partner will not be tolerated.

"Throughout this period Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police officers will have an enhanced focus to ensure that positive action is taken against perpetrators of domestic abuse.

"We would like to say to perpetrators that you are not in control. If you continue to abuse your partner, your relationship and family could break down. You could lose the right to see your children and you could be evicted from your home. If you commit an offence you could go to jail. "We will be using social media to tweet our support of partnership events and to publicise as much good news as possible about events and positive action taken by officers such as arrests, charges, and sentences as we want to deter perpetrators and increase the confidence of victims of domestic abuse to seek help."

More information about domestic abuse is available for victims, perpetrators, friends and family, and young people on or if you live in Warwickshire by calling the Warwickshire Against Domestic Abuse helpline on 0800 408 1552.

The helpline is open 9am – 9pm Monday to Friday and 8am – 4pm on Saturdays.

Outside of these hours you or your friend/family member should call 0808 2000 247, the freephone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge.

If you live in the West Mercia policing area, please visit advice-and-help.html for information on support agencies in your area.

Jo Berry & The Freedom Shropshire Team

Taking Charge of Your Life Courses 2014

Relate have announced that they are continuing to run their “Taking Charge of Your Life” Course across Shropshire, thanks to funding again from Shropshire Council. The course has been delivered for six years now and continues to be very popular with feedback from both professionals and learners being very positive.

Many of the participants have been unemployed and for this reason session 5 has now changed to look at Interview Techniques. The course is a Level 1 OCN Accredited course, so learners who complete a workbook will receive a certificate from the College around 4 months after the course ends. There is support for those with literacy difficulties

To review the course outline and course dates for 2014, click on these links:

Taking charge of your life OCN Accredited Course, 2014

Taking charge of your life Course Content

Jo Berry & the Freedom Shropshire Team

Voluntary Perpetrator Programme Research Event, November 2013

Today an event was held at Shirehall, Shrewsbury, during the White Ribbon Campaign, to launch the findings of the Research on Voluntary Perpetrator Programmes. Those attending were from organisations across Shropshire including Shropshire Council, West Mercia Police, West Mercia Probation Trust, SEEDS Shropshire and South Shropshire Domestic Violence Services.

Delegates watched a video clip with Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench, which highlights some of the issues around the inequalities and violence against women including Domestic Abuse. You can watch this video on You Tube by following this link: .

Jo Berry & The Freedom Shrophire Team

ASDA Shrewsbury, Supporting South Shropshire Domestic Violence Services

Asda in Shrewsbury are doing a campaign from Monday 2nd December 2013 for 7 days supporting South Shropshire Domestic Violence Services.

South Shropshire Domestic Violence Services are competing for their green tokens which, if they win, will result in £200 at the end of December 2013.

Asda will have available, all week, the ‘Pull Up & Sustain’ leaflets providing information on South Shropshire Domestic Violence Services.

There will be buckets on the tills as well as a lucky dip for customers to play – £1 a ticket with all funds going to South Shropshire Domestic Violence Services!

ASDA themselves will then donate bedding and possibly a Turkey as their gift to the Refuge.

Jo Berry & The Freedom Shropshire Team

Clare’s Law – the right to ask on domestic violence- is to be rolled out in England & Wales

It is expected that Clare’s Law, which enables people to check the police record of their partner, will cover England and Wales.

It has been piloted in a number of Police areas since September 2012 and the scheme is named after Clare Wood who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in Salford in February 2009.

There appears to be a mixed response to this scheme. There are those who believe Clare’s law will provide people with the information they need to escape an abusive situation before it’s too late. However, Refuge, the charity which helps victims of domestic abuse is opposed to the roll out of Clare’s law and instead the Charity is calling for the government to open a public enquiry into the response of police to domestic violence.

For a fuller report, visit:

Jo Berry & the Freedom Shropshire Team

White Ribbon Campaign 2013 -Starts Monday 25th November!

The White Ribbon campaign this year asks us to ‘Remember Remember the 25th of November’ which of course is White Ribbon Day and we say NO to violence against women.

Most men are not violent to women, but many of us ignore the problem, or see it as something that isn’t anything to do with us. We need to join women and women’s organisations in taking action to end the problem. You can make your own stand and make a difference by signing the pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about men’s violence against women. This year you can make your pledge on the Shropshire pledge page:

There are still on average 2 women a week in England and Wales killed by their violent partner or ex-partner and alarmingly, women aged between 15 & 44 are more at risk of rape and domestic violence than from cancer, motor accidents, war and malaria, according to the World Bank data.

We know that around 45% of women in the UK have experienced some form of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking and this costs millions of pounds, not to mention the emotional & mental cost to the women, children, wider families and communities. Say No to Violence Against Women.

In Shropshire, there will be a vigil held at St Laurence’s Church in Ludlow, from 1:15-1:45 in support of all victims of violence against women. The Church will be open from 10 am until 5 pm and White Ribbons and information will be available during this time. This vigil is taking place at the same time as a vigil in the Cathedral at Hereford. Please join in if you can. There is also a coffee morning being held by SEEDS Shropshire at the Foyer in Ludlow on Saturday 7th December, for more information contact: seeds

Many organisations across Shropshire are supporting the White Ribbon campaign, including the Police, Probation Service and Shropshire Council by providing White Ribbons to staff. There will be a White Ribbon Campaign stand throughout the 16 days of action, from 25th November at Shirehall outside the meeting rooms. Please help yourself to white ribbons and other useful information and sign the t-shirts hanging out on the washing line to show your support!

There are two main events in Shropshire this year during the campaign. On 28th November, the three specialist domestic abuse service providers: Refuge, South Shropshire Domestic Violence Services and West Mercia Women’s Aid have joined together to provide the Hidden Crime conference which will raise awareness around different aspects of domestic abuse and sexual violence. On 29th November, there will be a presentation on the research on Voluntary Perpetrators Programmes conducted by Shropshire Council staff. Organisations across Shropshire will discuss the way forward to increase the safety of women and children in our county and consider provision for abusive men to assist them to stop their violence.

Say NO to violence against women.

Jo Berry & the Freedom Shropshire Team


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