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Tackling domestic abuse and serious violence in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland: a webinar with Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs

Consultancy Perspective


 

Sam Craigie, Junior Communications Officer


Friday 16 February 2024



In 2022, the government introduced the Serious Violence Duty, a new piece of legislation that required councils and other local services to work together to tackle violent crime. Shortly after the guidance was introduced, the Home Office commissioned Crest Advisory to support all 43 police force areas across England and Wales to ensure they met the Duty’s requirements, a phase of work which came to a close last year. 


Following this project, Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Violence Reduction Network (LLR VRN) approached us to partner with them to develop a “rapid evidence review” into the effectiveness of domestic abuse and sexual violence interventions in the area. This was because Leicestershire changed their definition of serious violence to include domestic abuse and sexual violence as a result of the Duty, allowing agencies – including the police, local authorities, fire and rescue authorities, the probation service, and health – to coordinate how they can work together to prevent and reduce domestic abuse and sexual violence. As part of the review, Crest Advisory assessed 45 different types of interventions focused on early education, prevention and reduction. With this understanding of what works to tackle the problem, we made a series of recommendations on how LLR VRN should commission different types of intervention, from wider programmes to promote equal relationships to targeted approaches preventing perpetrators re-offending and longer term support for victims.  


To share our findings from the review with the wider domestic abuse sector, we hosted a webinar with LLR VRN, chaired by Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales. Over 40 local leads of sexual violence and domestic abuse from across England and Wales attended to share local best practice and to outline the current gaps in the provision for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. Crest’s Junior Communications Officer Sam Craigie attended the webinar and in this blog, he takes us through some of the key discussions. 


Throughout the webinar, it was clear that the gap in supporting children affected by domestic abuse is a widespread area of concern, despite the introduction of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. In order to bridge this gap, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner research team is currently mapping the commissioning of specialist services for children affected by domestic abuse. Nicole explained the importance of mapping children’s services:


“This will help us to focus attention (on children’s experience of domestic abuse) at the national level and understand what is already being done, what gaps remain and how we can help the government to plan to fill some of those gaps in a collaborative and strategic way”

Crest Advisory reviewed the existing commissioning landscape in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland for similar reasons. In the webinar, Millie Gant, Head of Delivery at LLR VRN, explained why this was an important starting point: 


“I was surprised about the amount of interventions, services and provisions locally, some of which I hadn’t heard of. And it made me reflect on how a victim may view those services and also how difficult it is for them to navigate through them. It was clear that there is some more joining up to do around local interventions.”

The review also highlighted the importance of collaboration between partners, to ensure all local agencies are aware of provision in their area and to prevent duplication of services. Millie noted that the review brought partners together:


“Not only was the rapid review hugely informative, Crest Advisory involved our partnership and networks and set up opportunities to present the findings with a space for discussion and comments. Everybody was involved and I saw first hand how that was valued.”

Another point of discussion was that national policy must be informed by local experiences and practitioner expertise. Without knowledge of local commissioning it is not possible for good practice to influence policy. Therefore, rapid evidence reviews are a key way of ensuring that good practice and evidence is followed. As Nicole noted:


 “Unearthing excellent practice is so important in order to tackle the knowledge gap between what partnerships are finding to be really effective on the ground and the thoughts of the national government”. 

We are grateful to both LLR VRN and Nicole Jacobs for chairing this webinar . Please visit both the LLR VRN website and the Domestic Abuse Commissioner website to find out more about the work in tackling domestic abuse and serious violence.


If you would like to hear more about our consultancy practice, or get in touch with us about commissioning a rapid evidence review, please visit https://www.crestadvisory.com/consulting. You can read about the 18-month programme of work we carried out in Devon & Cornwall to support their serious violence strategy ahead of the Serious Violence Duty coming into force here

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