Sunday, December 10, 2023

Report reveals “significant concerns” over how domestic violence victims supported by Essex Police

INSPECTORS say they have “significant concerns” about how domestic violence victims are supported by Essex Police.

HM Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) has released its report following a number of domestic violence-related killings reports the BBC.

Maria Stubbings, Jeanette Goodwin and Christine Chambers were all murdered by their ex-partners while Christine’s daughter Shania was also killed.

HMIC said more work was needed to properly manage risks to victims. Essex Police said it had improved.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission found failings in all three murder cases.

In its report, HMIC inspectors said the way officers dealt with domestic violence was “fragmented” and of “significant concern”.

It said victim support and those involved in domestic violence investigations were “poor” at communicating with each other and outside bodies.

The report said: “Most staff were not able to demonstrate a broad understanding of the wider response to domestic abuse, and of how dealing with it effectively can enhance the confidence of victims and ultimately prevent homicides.”

Zoe Billingham, HM Inspector of Constabulary, said: “It’s absolutely vital the police get the handling of these cases right for victims.

“The force has taken a number of important steps to address how domestic abuse cases are handled.

Maria Stubbings, 50, was strangled with a dog lead by her ex-boyfriend Marc Chivers, who had also killed a previous girlfriend

The IPCC said Ms Stubbings was not given adequate protection

Christine Chambers, 38, complained about violence from David Oakes for two years before he murdered her

The IPCC found the force’s response was “inadequate”

Jeanette Goodwin, 47, was stabbed 30 times by her ex-partner Martin Bunch in front of her husband

The IPCC said Mrs Goodwin had called police before the attack but they did not recognise “urgent action” was needed

“However, there is still more work to do to ensure that victims get the best possible service from their force.”

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said the report recognised “the substantial steps” taken to arrest suspects as soon as possible and deal with calls quickly.

He added: “But I also recognise that it highlights several areas where we need to streamline our processes, improve communication, and provide a better service to victims.

“This includes improving information sharing between other agencies by tackling the issue with a genuine partnership response and commitment.”

He added: “I’m interested in listening to charities, local authorities, social services, prosecutors, academic experts, victim advocates and my own officers – who deal with this problem on the front-line.

“We receive 80 calls on domestic abuse a day and we are very conscious that we must get our response right every single time.”


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