Domestic homicide reviews: consultation analysis

We undertook a period of consultation and targeted engagement to inform the development of a Domestic Homicide Review model for Scotland. Those with lived experience of domestic abuse and those working in the field shared their views on fundamental aspects of the model.

F) Underpinning Scotland's Domestic Homicide Review Model

This section asks how the model for Scotland should be underpinned. Most Domestic Homicide Reviews across UK and internationally are reinforced by legislation. However, there are some review processes in Scotland which are not, and instead rely on guidance.

32. Legislation: Should the Domestic Homicide Review process be underpinned by legislation?

Respondents were asked whether Scotland’s Domestic Homicide Review process should be underpinned by legislation. Over three quarters (77%) of respondents agreed that legislation should underpin Scotland’s Domestic Homicide Review model with 15% of respondents unsure and 8% who disagreed.

Figure 40: Percentage of responses on whether the Domestic Homicide Review model should be underpinned by legislation
A doughnut chart of percentage responses on whether the Domestic Homicide Review model for Scotland should be underpinned by legislation. 77% of respondents answered 'Yes', 8% answered 'No', and 15% answered 'Don't Know'.

Comments from respondents stated that the Domestic Homicide Review model should be embedded within legislation and undertaken within set guidelines. Ensuring accountability was mentioned, especially from agencies such as the police, or agencies supporting perpetrators.

“Yes, if it isn't then it won't be a priority for services. By underpinning the model with legislation there could be requirements to report to parliament to ensure learning and recommendations are being implemented. It would also help with complex data sharing issues. It would also publicly show the commitment to learn lessons and that those killed were important.” Professional respondent

Some of the main reasons in support of legislating Scotland’s Domestic Homicide Review model are included in Figure (41) below.

Figure 41: Reasons for underpinning Scotland’s Domestic Homicide Review model by legislation
Word cloud with popular reasons for underpinning Scotland's Domestic Homicide Review (DHR) model by legislation, as expressed by respondents. The reasons to underpin Scotland's DHR model by legislation: 'Legal base to request a review' (4), 'Review bodies bound to comply' (5), 'Status demonstrates how important it is' (3), 'Helps agencies participate openly' (4), 'Ensures adequate resources' (4), and 'Less wishy-washy' (1).

Other professionals and professionals with lived experience who disagreed with underpinning Scotland’s Domestic Homicide Review model with legislation said that an issue such as domestic homicide shouldn’t require legislation. Others commented that there are few domestic homicides and in their experience, all organisations are reflective and keen to learn in these circumstances.

Additionally, legislation was pointed out to be a lengthy process, resulting in delays and a lack of learning for victims and their families. Some suggestions by professional respondents was to set-up the model with all the necessary parameters, then review the need for legislation if there is insufficient buy-in from agencies.

33. Other comments: Are there any other comments about the planned Domestic Homicide Review process?

The final question asked participants if they had any other comments. It was pointed out that the work of Jane Monckton-Smith on the homicide timeline is already used in England. When looking at Domestic Homicide Reviews, Scotland would benefit from looking at such models.

Figure 42: Other comments made by respondents
Word cloud with themes of comments received about Scotland's Domestic Homicide Review model more generally. These include: 'Claire's Law to be strengthened' (2), 'Title of the review doesn't match the scope of the review' (1), 'Trauma-informed' (2), 'Understanding nuances' (2), 'Multi-disciplinary review panel' (1), 'No-blame consultation' (1), 'Trained domestic abuse practitioners' (7), 'Clear timescales' (3) and 'Measurement of impact from recommendations' (3).

Some of the professional respondents expressed that they were pleased to see that Domestic Homicide Reviews are being progressed.

“I'm pleased that this is now happening in Scotland. It means that victims’ lives are valued, which is important to not just the victim but their family. Agencies will learn valuable lessons on how to support victims and recognise the real risk they are in. More professionals and the general public will realise just how many victims of domestic abuse are killed.” Professional respondent



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