Evaluation of the police response to domestic abuse incidents from the victims perspective

6 April 2017 Posted by


SEEDS stands for Survivors Empowering and Educating Domestic Abuse Services and is a means by which survivors have their voices heard by those planning and providing domestic abuse services. The Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence team works with SEEDS to carry out research and evaluations to enable those who have experienced domestic abuse to have their say.

In 2014, SEEDS conducted an evaluation examining the police response to domestic abuse incidents from the victim’s perspective. This resulted in recommendations being presented to the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Strategic Group with a particular focus on police. The Strategic Group asked SEEDS to conduct a similar evaluation in 2 years to see if any changes had been made with regards to the recommendations suggested.

The evaluation covered the following areas:

  • Initial response
  • Risk
  • Support
  • Follow-up

The findings, including a comparison from 2014, were written up in a report and presented back to the group.

The 2014 evaluation suggested improvements could be made in the way police respond to victims to ensure they felt listened too and understood. The 2016 evaluation examined whether improvements in this area had been made and surveyed other areas, such as risk, support and follow-up. The overall aims of the evaluation were to:

  • find out the views of survivors who had experienced a police response;
  • represent their views and experiences through the report;
  • share these with staff working in the different domestic abuse services in order to increase their understanding of the survivors perspective;
  • improve services by learning from survivors experiences.

The survey was carried out over a 6 month period, from January 2016-June 2016. Results were then input and analysed and the findings were presented during Domestic Abuse Awareness week (November 2016) and to the DASV Strategic Group in February 2017.

 The conclusions from the evaluation were:

  • Overall feedback was positive.
  • Risk assessments seem to be a strong area for the police. A high proportion completed risk assessments on first contact and respondents were happy with the risk level that came from the assessment.
  • There has been an improvement in the way police respond to victims as a much higher proportion felt listened too in 2016 compared with 2014.
  • If the survey were to be run again it would be useful to use more of the same questions to get a greater comparison of areas and to include some interviews to get more details from respondents.
  • Because date of incident had not been completed in the majority of cases it was unclear as to when the incident had taken place and therefore how recent the incident was.
  • Although two thirds of respondents were positive about the support provided by the police, this could be increased, particularly in terms of respondents feeling like they were given someone to liaise with.
  • When the number of times that the victim contacts the police increases the response appears more likely to be negative.

Recommendations for the police are being written around these conclusions. The Police have also asked if the data collected could be used as a baseline for their future work they are planning around the victim’s perspective.

About the Author

Simon, Research & Information Officer, Amethyst, Community Safety Team

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