SafeLives welcomes DASH review

21st September 2016
SafeLives' statement in response to College of Policing report: "Risk-led policing of domestic abuse and the risk-led model"
 
"To tackle domestic abuse effectively, we must have a coordinated community response involving multiple agencies, including of course - the police. This response will only ever be effective if all the agencies have a common language  and understanding of risk. Partnership is key to early and effective intervention for victims. Agencies responding to risk in different ways leads to piecemeal provision; information sharing is inevitably harder when agencies work in silos. 
 
We therefore have concerns about the police having their own separate approach to risk. This may lead to specialist women's services and other relevant agencies (housing, health, substance misuse) becoming increasingly disconnected to their local police force, which in turn makes it harder to provide early and effective support to victims. 
 
The DASH was developed in line with the long understood premise that domestic abuse is about patterns of behaviour, not single incidents. This pattern often has control as its core and can include physical violence, emotional/sexual/financial abuse and stalking and harassment (both on and offline).
 
However, we welcome a review of the DASH. This review must go alongside effective training for all police officers, strong and coherent leadership and the attitudinal shift to continue.  We have seen a great number of forces sign up and take part in the 'Domestic Abuse Matters' change programme. We are proud to have worked in partnership to put this College of Policing programme together; partnership between agencies and charities is key to seeing real change. We hope any changes to the way the police approach risk will be carried out in partnership also. 
 
DASH was intended to be used alongside professional judgement. The statement put out by the College of Policing today states that perhaps the DASH is better for domestic abuse professionals with a 'better rapport' with victims. We would encourage the police to continue their training and leadership in this area to improve the rapport, as this will encourage victims to feel safe to disclose and seek further support 
 
Tackling domestic abuse is challenging and should not be the responsibility of any one agency. A common language and common understanding will better increase our chances of meeting our common goal - supporting victims of domestic abuse today and reducing the number of victims tomorrow."