Domestic Violence Policing - Women’s Aid National Conference 11th July 2013

Monday, 24 June, 2013


Superintendent Peter Norman of South Yorkshire Police comments on the subject of Domestic Violence Policing;


How has policing around domestic and sexual violence changed during the time you’ve been in the force?

I believe that the police service has become much more responsive to the needs of victims and their families during the last decade.  Instead of just concentrating upon the enforcement of the law, we have understood the need to work far more closely with partner agencies, including the voluntary sector, in addressing the causes of problems - rather than just attempting to address the symptoms.  We have started to support victims holistically as a society, rather than attempting to treat aspects of victim's problems in isolation or within organisational silos. 

A lot of forces have come in for criticism over their handling of domestic and sexual violence recently- what do you think is the key to addressing force weaknesses in these areas?

It is extremely important that the public has confidence in the police service.  To tackle domestic and sexual violence effectively, it requires the engagement of numerous agencies at a national and local level. However, victims need to know that their worries, fears, concerns or crime reports will be investigated thoroughly and professionally.  The development of local, strong, vibrant domestic abuse partnerships that involve a full range of partners, including the voluntary sector, will assist police forces to be more responsive to the needs of victims and their families.  By using local resources to their full potential, we can use their experience to develop effective local partnerships to assist police forces to be more effective in tackling the problems of domestic abuse and sexual violence. 

Unfortunately, the police service doesn't always get it right first time.  We need to ensure that any lessons are learnt and that when we do make mistakes, we apologise and clearly demonstrate a commitment to ensure similar issues don't arise again.  

What does being needs-led mean to the police, and are we seeing an increasing focus on this in the area of domestic and sexual abuse?

Being needs-led means identifying an individual's needs and ensuring that they receive the best possible service.  There should no longer be a 'one size fits all' solution and the development of integrated domestic abuse partnerships that involve co-located services are an excellent example of what can be achieved.  I am convinced that this is the way forward.  I believe victims and their families will get a better service, have greater confidence in pursuing cases through the criminal justice system and ultimately it will give even more victims the confidence to come forward and report what is happening to them and their children.  The more victims who come forward at an earlier stage reduces the number of victims who go on to become assaulted and in the worst cases, murdered.

Superintendent Norman will be speaking at the Women’s Aid National Conference on 11 July at Warwick University. To attend, email

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