DHRs were formally established in April 2011 when Section 9 of The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004) was enacted. This places a statutory responsibility on Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) to complete a DHR when a death occurs and meets the criteria set out in the guidance. The CSP in Leeds is called Safer Leeds and the statutory function for conducting DHRs sits with the Safer Leeds Domestic Violence Team.
The Home Office Guidance states that:
Domestic Homicide Review means a review of the circumstances in which the death of a person aged over 16 has, or appears to have, resulted from violence, abuse or neglect by:
(a) A person to whom s/he was related or with whom s/he was or had been in an intimate personal relationship, or
(b) A member of the same household as him/herself, held with a view to identifying the lessons to be learned from the death.
The purpose of a DHR is to:
- Establish what lessons are to be learned from the domestic homicide regarding the way in which local professionals and agencies work individually and together to safeguard victims;
- Identify clearly what those lessons are both within and between agencies, how and within what timescales they will be acted on, and what is expected to change as a result;
- Apply these lessons to service responses, including changes to policies and procedures as appropriate;
- Prevent domestic violence homicide and improve service responses for all victims of domestic violence/abuse and their children through improved intra and inter agency working.
Each DHR results in an Overview Report which must be published. These reports set out the context in which a domestic violence related death occurs and makes recommendations for services to improve practice. In Leeds, each completed DHR is published on this page and is accompanied by summary report and a written brief aimed at front line practitioners.