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Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004

Section 9: Establishment and conduct of reviews

46.This section provides for guidance on the establishment and conduct of domestic homicide reviews, so that statutory and other agencies can learn lessons from them. Under subsection (3), the relevant authorities have a duty to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State when establishing or conducting such a review. The relevant authorities are listed in subsection (4)(a) for England and Wales as chief officer of police, local authorities, local probation boards, Strategic Health Authorities, Primary Care Trusts, Local Health Boards and NHS trusts and in subsection (4)(b) for Northern Ireland, as the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Probation Board for Northern Ireland, Health and Social Services Boards and Health and Social Services Trusts.

47.It is envisaged that the guidance will encourage multi-agency reviews in relevant cases and will provide details as to leadership, format, timing and participants depending on the individual circumstances of the case.

48.The reviews are limited to deaths of those aged 16 years and above. Child deaths are already considered under Part 8 of the Serious Case Reviews (“Working Together to Safeguard Children”) guidance. The guidance will cover deaths which have or appear to have resulted from violence, abuse or neglect inflicted by someone to whom he was related or of the same household or with whom the victim had an intimate personal relationship.

49.In addition, subsection (2) gives the Secretary of State the reserve power to direct a review to be established in a particular case, specifying who must establish and/or participate in such a review. Subsection (6) enables the Secretary of State to amend the definition of relevant authorities in subsection (4) and “local authority” in subsection (5) by order subject to the negative resolution procedure (see section 61(3)).

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