CWASU Child And Woman Abuse Studies Unit

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Finding the Costs of Freedom

The findings of a 3 year research project (conducted in partnership with Solace Women's Aid) Finding the Costs of Freedom, that examines how women and children rebuild their lives after domestic violence, was launched at the Mayor's office in London on 2nd June 2014. This is the first longitudinal study of it's kind in Europe that tracks 100 women who had accessed one or more of Solace Women's Aid services. The research identified that for all of the participants, removing themselves from the immediate control of an abusive man was only the first step. Over 90% experienced post-separation abuse, indicating the critical need for specialist support for women in the period after leaving an abusive situation.

The report can be downloaded from here.



Evaluation of Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPOs)

This project evaluated a new civil provision, Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs), which were piloted over a 15-month period in three police force areas (Greater Manchester, West Mercia and Wiltshire) in 2011-12.

The aims of the evaluation were to assess the following:

  1. How were DVPOs implemented and delivered across the three pilot sites?
  2. What did practitioners, victim-survivors and perpetrators think about DVPOs?
  3. Were DVPOs effective in reducing domestic violence across the pilot sites?
  4. What was the value for money of the pilot?

Key findings

  • A total of 509 potential DVPOs were initially pursued by police officers during the pilot; 487 DVPNs were authorised, and 414 full DVPOs were issued by the courts.
  • Just under two-thirds of the victim-survivors were referred to support services, but referral practices remained inconsistent.
  • DVPO processes were successfully implemented, but DVPOs were not fully embedded into routine practice by the end of the pilot.
  • Breaches of DVPOs are a civil not criminal matter, and some participants in the evaluation thought that inadequate sanctions were being applied.
  • Generally, DVPOs were seen positively by police and other practitioners (including, court and support service representatives).
  • DVPOs were also generally seen positively by the victim-survivors. Most felt safer, and said DVPOs provided them with time and space to consider their options.
  • DVPOs were associated with reduced re-victimisation, especially in 'chronic' cases (3 or more previous police attendances for domestic violence), compared to similar cases dealt with by arrest followed by 'no further action'. On average, there was a reduction of one incident of domestic violence per victim-survivor, compared to arrest followed by NFA.
  • The economic analysis of the pilot suggests that DVPOs showed a negative return on investment, but if they had only been used in cases where they appeared to be most effective in reducing re-victimisation (i.e. the more 'chronic' cases), the return would have slightly increased. Also, in the longer term, the costs of DVPO would reduce substantially.

The report can be download from the Home Office's website here