In order to develop the priorities, outcomes and action plan within the 2015 - 2020 strategy, the Home Department held a planning session in February 2014 attended by representatives from the relevant States Departments and voluntary sector organisations. It also carried out a survey of local survivors of domestic abuse to find out more about their needs and experiences in relation to local services and the criminal justice response. Please see the survey results and recommendations at the bottom of this page.
The Domestic Abuse Strategy focuses on the fundamental principle that all people living within our community have a right to be safe from domestic abuse in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Unfortunately, for many, it still remains a hidden crime. As is the case in the UK, we know that reporting figures do not reflect the full picture as, all too often, violence and abuse remains unreported, under the radar of public view with many victims too afraid or embarrassed to seek help.
The Domestic Abuse Strategy and Action Plan has four strands - Prevention, Protection and Justice, Provision of Support and Partnerships.
The consultation has been launched to ask for opinions on the overarching vision for tackling domestic abuse which is set out in the strategy, plus the six key outcomes and five priority areas of focus. The consultation asks for your views on the proposed new definition of 'domestic abuse'. It also asks if changes to the law around domestic abuse might be beneficial either to fit with the proposed definition of domestic abuse or to strengthen local law by adopting some of the newer aspects of UK law that have been introduced in the last few years.
After the public consultation closes at the end of January 2015, the Home Department Board will be provided with the feedback so that any changes required to the draft Strategy can be agreed. The Department will then finalise the Strategy and take it back to the States for debate during the first half of 2015 in order to provide an update on the last strategy and propose a way forward in terms of the delivery of local domestic abuse services and criminal justice provision over the next 5 years.
Meeting the Needs of Local Domestic Abuse Survivors - survey results
Domestic abuse survivors answered a series of questions about their experiences for a survey that has helped the Home Department identify where focus is needed.
A total of 197 survivors completed the survey - not all answered every question - with most responses being completed online via Survey Monkey and accessed through the Safer Facebook page.
As a result, more than 20 recommendations have been prioritised within the action plan for the next domestic abuse strategy.
A brief overview of the survey results:
- 91% of the 185 respondents who answered a question about the effect of domestic abuse felt it had an impact on their mental health.
- 73% of the 177 who answered the question said it impacted on their physical health.
- A little more than eight out of every 10 abusers (81.3%) were the male partner/husband/ex-partner of women.
- Survivors felt that being believed/taken seriously by staff was a vital factor when seeking help (142 out of 147 who answered a question about what was important to them).
- A total of 59 out of the 145 respondents (41%) who answered the question stated that the domestic abuse had been reported to the local police.
- Just under half of those who reported it to the police said their abuser had been arrested (27 out of 59).
- Out of the 27 arrested, 22 were taken to court (81%), with 14 of those being found guilty (64%).
- The most common reasons survivors gave for not speaking to someone about their ordeal were; they hoped it would get better without help (60 out of 116 who answered question) and/or they didn't realise it was abuse (48 out of 116)
Home Department Minister Peter Gillson said:
"We would like to express our appreciation to the many survivors of domestic abuse who took the time and energy to participate in the survey.
Their feedback really helped us to understand ways in which local domestic abuse services, legislation and support need to be strengthened and improved.
"A set of recommendations within the survey report have been prioritised within the domestic abuse strategy action plan for 2015-2020."
Those recommendations include:
- A review of the local legislation and court processes in relation to domestic abuse is carried out.
- A workplace survey is carried out to show the impact of domestic abuse in the workplace and to encourage employers to put in place domestic abuse workplace policies and guidelines.
- The strategy to work in partnership with community groups and agencies to create public campaigns to raise awareness of the issue.
- A resource manual for health professionals should be developed and published to assist them in identifying and dealing with domestic abuse (health professionals were the professional group that the highest number of survivors disclosed abuse to).
- Specialist domestic abuse and criminal justice services do more to promote their services in relation to domestic abuse and ensure that their services are accessible.
- The impact of domestic abuse on children and young people should be highlighted more
- Outcomes for children and young people living with domestic abuse should be monitored in relation to the work being carried out with them.
Updated: January 2015