Presentation on theme: "Www.sccjr.ac.uk Policing and Domestic Abuse Michele Burman University of Glasgow Scottish International Policing Conference, Nov 2013."— Presentation transcript:
Policing and Domestic Abuse Michele Burman University of Glasgow Scottish International Policing Conference, Nov 2013
Overview Domestic abuse in context –definitions; forms; incidence Challenges for policing/criminal justice Interventions –Research and evaluation
Putting domestic abuse into context Typically involves: –a pattern of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, threats and intimidation –that escalates in frequency/severity Exercise of control and misuse of power by one partner over another Has profound consequences in the lives of individuals, children, families and communities Most prevalent form of violence against women, internationally
Incidence and seriousness Accounts for 17% of reported crime (Nicholas, Povey, Walker and Kershaw 2005) Accounts for 16% of all violent crime (Home Office 2008) On average 2 women per week killed by current/ex-partner (Home Office 2008) 40% of all female homicide victims killed by current/ex-partner (Povey 2005) Largest cause of morbidity of women aged 19-44yrs, more than war, cancer and MV accidents (Krug et al 2002) 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men have been a victim since age 16 – although women likely to suffer greater injury (Walby & Allen 2004) Most likely repeat victimisation and more likely to result in injury than any other crime ( Home Office 2008). 89% of those suffering >4 attacks are women (Walby & Allen 2004)
Effects Individual costs –physical and mental health; housing; education ( Walby 2004) – everyday terrorism (Pain 2011) Social costs –children and young people –families, communities –homelessness Financial costs –costs society £23 billion per annum (Walby 2004) –Estimated cost to CJS £1 billion per annum
The power of policing Increased realisation of significance of domestic abuse –Rapidly evolving and changing landscape an agent of change? –strategic direction significant (symbolic) role defining parameters –police action can have significant impact shaping future responses of other agencies...
Challenges limitations of CJ as mechanism through which domestic abuse might be effectively addressed varying/narrow definitions incident focused –misses patterns ? Focus on perpetrators (not victims ) high levels of case attrition (drop-out) low conviction rates
More challenges... Low reporting/ Reluctance to involve the police Requires high level of engagement with the law/justice system –applications for civil /protection orders –documented reports/previous complaints Police intervention can re-create the dynamics pre-existing in an abusive relationship –e.g. social isolation, unequal power dynamics and male control Put women at greater risk by angering their abuser and worsening the situation, –Esp. if the case is not taken seriously enough or the police fail to provide suitable protection CJS cannot deliver ……
Government Police Domestic abuse (as gender-based abuse), can be perpetrated by partners or ex partners and can include physical abuse (assault and physical attack involving a range of behaviour), sexual abuse (acts which degrade and humiliate women and are perpetrated against their will, including rape) and mental and emotional abuse (such as threats, verbal abuse, racial abuse, withholding money and other types of controlling behaviour such as isolation from family or friends). Any form of physical, sexual or mental and emotional abuse which might amount to criminal conduct and which takes place within the context of a close relationship. The relationship will be between partners (married, cohabiting or otherwise) or ex-partners. The abuse can be committed in the home or elsewhere.
What victim/survivors want Fast response Abuse to stop Being believed/ taken seriously Assist in accessing/contacting support agencies Thoughtful collection of evidence (Ongoing) provision of information ( see, for example: : Zorza, 1992; Smith, 2000; Robinson 2005; Hoyle ; Romkens, 1997)
Pro-active policing/pro-arrest reflects wider acknowledgement that domestic abuse is a matter of social and public concern –Controversial (double-edged sword) –Under mines autonomy mixed views on effectiveness /deterrence (e.g.Sherman 2006) Pro- arrest policies can lead to unintended consequences and unacceptable costs to abused women who have complex needs (e.g. Hoyle, 2000) Pro responses can pose risks (esp. to socio- economically marginalised groups) (e.g.Snider 1998, 2003)
Co-ordinated community responses Police are only as effective as their counterparts in the CJS (Murphy, 1998) Integrated policies (CCRs) Supportive community infrastructure –offers a balance between state control (for victims benefit) and protection of individual victims Network of community agencies –Inter-agency response –Services that protect victim/survivor from the perpetrator –Emergency housing –Financial assistance Advocacy support –Institutional reformers See, for example, Fleury-Steiner, 2006; Shaphard 1999; Coker 2001)
Identifying / targeting repeat, prolific and high-risk offenders Move from victim focus to one of challenging offenders –E.g. Domestic Abuse Task Force Recognition of serial perpetration –every 5-6 male perpetrators appeared repeatedly in domestic violence database ( (see Hester, 2012) Joined-up, victim-oriented, intelligence-led approaches –Complex crime requiring high levels of analysis –Crisis points ( Hester et al 2006; Hanmer and Griffiths 2001) Identifying high-risk offenders requires information and ongoing analyses
Risk Assessment/Management MARAC –Key areas : enhanced information sharing; appropriate agency representation; and the role of the IDVA in representing and engaging the victim in the process. –available research evidence mixed (see, Robinson 2005: Steel et al 2011) –effective practice : strong partnership links (incl. commitment from agencies); strong leadership; good co-ordination, and; availability of training and induction MATAC (Scotland) –targets repeat perpetrators –Recent and promising initiative, as yet no evaluation
Essentials Specialised training Expertise Resources Champions to ensure consistency and provide accountability Intelligence, ongoing analysis and the development of information Multi-agency information-sharing Priority targeting of high risk perpetrators Co-ordination Consistency Safety of women and children should be prioritised at all times Evaluation and review
Protection Orders Efficacy of protection orders in preventing reoffending. Studies indicate that between 23% - 70% of women victims report repeat incidents of violence despite having obtained a protection order; others claim that they can be an effective mechanism for preventing further abuse, substantially reducing assault and injury-related outcomes. The merits of protection orders, however, may be hampered by barriers in accessing and enforcing them.
References CPS Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Domestic Violence, March 2009, England and Wales Bourg S., and Stock H. V. (1994) A Review of Domestic Violence Arrest Statistics in Police Departments using a Pro-Arrest Policy: Are Pro-Arrest Policies Enough? Journal of Family Violence, vol. 9 (2) Gillis et al, Systematic Obstacles to Battered Womens Participation in the Judicial System – When Will the Status Quo Change? (2006) in Violence Against Women vol. 12(12) Sage Publication Han, E. L., (2003), "Mandatory Arrest and No-drop Policies: Victim Empowerment in Domestic Violence Cases", Boston College Third World Law Journal 23(1): 159. Matczak et al, (2011) Review of Domestic Violence Policies in England and Wales Mills, G. L. (1998) Mandatory Arrest and Prosecution Policies for Domestic Violence: A Critical Literature Review and the Case for More Research to Test Victim Empowerment Approaches in Criminal Justice and Behaviour 25 (306) Sherman, Lawrence W. and Smith, Douglas A., (1992), "Crime, Punishment, and Stake in Conformity: Legal and Informal Control of Domestic Violence", American Sociological Review 57(5): 680
Scotland: Domestic Abuse Task Force To reduce the overall harm of domestic abuse, particularly in respect of victims who are in high risk of serious violence and by these means ultimately reduce incident of domestic abuse homicide in the Strathclyde police force area Dedicated Unit Moved from victim focus to one of challenging offenders Identify offenders who are at greatest risk of offending and collate information for intelligence development or enforcement Proactively target those identified as presenting greatest risk of serious harm, using all available methods and ensure they are held accountable through the CJS