SafeLives’ response to super-complaint on police perpetrated domestic abuse

We welcome the HMICFRS’s decision to uphold the super-complaint submitted by the Centre for Women’s Justice about domestic abuse perpetrated by the police (PPDA).  The police force should not be a haven for perpetrators of domestic abuse.

We support the recommendation that Chief Constables should audit all live allegations of domestic abuse against officers and staff and ensure investigations are concluded swiftly.  Allegations of domestic abuse against police officers and staff should indeed be investigated by the professional standards department, to maintain integrity and impartiality.  And we support the need for clearer guidance for forces, and better support for victims whose perpetrators work for the police.

However, this report does not go far enough in recognising and addressing the systemic failures in the response to police perpetrated domestic abuse.

For many victims of domestic abuse, what destabilises their sense of security, even after the situation is long past, is that the person or people they should have been able to rely on above all others were the ones causing harm.  People who use abuse and controlling behaviour often seek out positions of power and trust to enable them to cause harm without fear of retribution.

Significant reform is needed to bring about a wholesale culture change, which reduces the motivation and opportunity for different types of power to be abused. Every victim of domestic abuse – including those who are police officers and staff – should have trust and confidence that their cases will be investigated fairly and sensitively, and that they will be protected from harm.

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Training for police

SafeLives aim to end domestic abuse, for everyone and for good. Domestic Abuse (DA) Matters is a bespoke cultural change programme for police officers and staff across the UK.