A Yorkshire policing study indicated early and progressive police interventions, linked to use of local community resources, and appeared to reduce repeat victimization known to police, although service delivery was inconsistent. A London victim crisis intervention and advocacy service based in police stations was praised by victims and showed some evidence of reduced revictimisation, but had little impact on overall criminal justice practices.
A linked series of initiatives in Cardiff, including a women’s safety unit, indicate some promising early effects on revictimisation, although rates of arrest, charging and successful prosecution remain low.
Whilst UK multi-agency domestic violence fora have played a useful information-sharing role, they have not become involved in individual case-tracking or organizational practice audits, unlike some of their North American counterparts, although some have now begun to conduct homicide reviews. Multi-agency audits of the intervention system and reviews of the management of high-risk cases could assist in identifying, promulgating and institutionalizing proactive good practice, and in tackling misaligned policies, procedures and information systems.
Whilst surveyed women survivors believe mainstream services, particularly police and housing, are improving, they still pay insufficient attention to their views and needs. Specialist domestic violence police officers are particularly appreciated. The health service particularly mental health services, courts and the benefits agency are rated as least likely to understand the reality of domestic violence or to respond appropriately.
In general abused women perceive services as helpful when they proactively ask about abuse, help ‘name’ domestic violence, pay attention to safety planning, respond to special needs and assist with trauma recovery. Online Property Tax Depreciation Medical and other professionals could be better informed about the links between mental health symptoms, substance abuse and victimization. Few abused women consulting mental health professionals are offered trauma counselling or interventions to improve their safety.
Outreach and advocacy services have been delivered largely by abused women’s organizations but are now expanding as other agencies begin to address domestic violence more proactively. Outreach services support and assist women in their own homes and there is evidence that women are more likely to leave violent relationships after using such services.
They provide advice, information and support, and broker access to other services for abused women aimed at improving safety, whilst also working to generally improve agency responsiveness. Evaluations of UK and US projects indicate such services are perceived as empowering and safety-enhancing by victims, and can reduce revictimisation by accelerating the process of change e.g. decisions to proceed with legal action or to leave abusive relationships.