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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

July 30, 2004: New Inspection on Probation and Domestic Violence

A new report on probation intervention aimed at Reducing Domestic Violence has just been published. The thematic inspection by HM Inspectorate of Probation on National Probation Service (NPS) Work with Domestic Violence Perpetrators was the second of the thematic inspections within the new Effective Supervision Inspection programme. Chief Inspector of Probation Andrew Bridges comments in the Inspection that the Council of Europe has stated that domestic violence:

“is the major cause of death and disability for women aged 16-44, and accounts for more death and ill-health than cancer or traffic accidents. The National Probation Service plays an important role in trying to make an impact on this offending”.

It therefore causes concern that the inspection findings reveal that there is much need for improvement, and no room for complacency. Just over a third of the cases inspected paid sufficient concern to victim safety.As Andrew Bridges comments, responding to the recommendations of this report will be a challenge against the backdrop of the introduction of National Offender Management Service and the implementation of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. The overall aim of the inspection was to:

“determine the extent to which the NPS contributes to the reduction of harm to primary and secondary victims of domestic violence”

More specifically, the inspection aimed to determine the extent to which, in relation to domestice violence, the NPS:

  • identifies all relevant cases consistently

  • assesses accurately the risks/criminogenic needs of offenders

  • delivers effectively evidence-based interventions to address risk and criminogenic need

  • reduces the risk of harm to victims and others

  • gives priority to victims' concerns

  • addresses race, gender and other aspects of diversity for both victims and perpetrators.

The inspection is well worth a detailed reading. However, key findings included:

  • Some probation practitioners were aware of the power and control issues underlying domestic violence and the offender’s capacity to minimise their violence, and attribute its cause to the victim’s behaviour. They demonstrated persistent efforts to address these issues in their work with offenders. Other practitioners, however, lacked this awareness and persistence, and were often inclined to take perpetrator accounts at face value.

  • Management oversight of cases was sufficient in less than half of cases.

  • There was a lack of appropriate interventions for domestic violence offenders to address their specific criminogenic needs.

  • Though judgements about the acceptability of absences were mostly appropriate, breach action was not always taken within national standards timescales. Only two-thirds of cases were offered appointments in line with national standards. With domestic violence cases home visits can be an essential part of the casework because information can be gleaned and the case manager can get a more rounded picture of the home life of the offender.

  • Information about breach of civil court or restraining orders was not passed promptly to relevant authorities.

  • There was a lack of specialist resources available to assist case managers. Case managers often did not motivate the offender to address their offending. Sometimes this resulted from a failure to fully address domestic  issues during supervision.

  • The quality of pre-release work was poor.

  • Insufficient was done to respond to changes in the risk of harm status.

  • The quality of risk management plans was poor.

  • The risk of harm to children from domestic violence was not addressed sufficiently.