An alarming new report has been published today by HM Inspectorate of Probation, detailing their concerns about the Probation Service’s response to domestic abuse. The report analyses 143 cases and reveals a picture of the Probation Service as understaffed, undertrained and overwhelmed.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Poor risk assessments: only 28% of assessments in the sample provided a sufficiently clear and thorough analysis of the risks of domestic abuse.
  • Poor planning: Overall, the report concluded that planning sufficiently addressed the risks of domestic abuse in only 37% of cases.
  • Poor implementation and delivery: In 73% of cases, the inspectorate concluded that implementation and delivery were insufficient to manage the risks of domestic abuse.
  • Poor reviewing practices: 77% of cases were found to focus insufficiently on the risks of domestic abuse in their review process

With regards to perpetrator interventions, the report reveals that 45% of the case sample should have had access to an intervention but had not. Given that many of these cases have participation in an intervention built into sentencing, this raises questions about the viability of court-mandated participation in perpetrator interventions.   

The inspection also found that in too many cases information is not being shared, or joint action planned, between probation and other agencies like the police and children’s social care to minimise the risk of domestic abuse. It does however highlight that where specialist, multidisciplinary teams are in place, the response is more effective. We therefore strongly support the report’s recommendations that we need a more cohesive, multi-agency approach to addressing domestic abuse, holding perpetrators to account and keeping survivors safe.

Jo Todd, CEO at Respect, said,

“This report makes for troubling reading. Survivors of domestic abuse are being put at risk, and perpetrators are not being held to account or given meaningful opportunities to change their behaviour.

"Probation ought to offer a chance to make a real difference to the safety of survivors and their children, but the findings of this report show that these chances are being missed. We echo the Inspectorate’s calls for change and support their recommendations."

Read the full report

Respect is a registered charity in England and Wales, number 1141636, in Scotland, number SC051284 and a company, number 7582438. Registered address: VAI Second Floor, 200a Pentonville Road, London N1 9JP
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