Domestic Homicide and Policy Interventions in the United Kingdom

Date/Time: Thu 15 Feb / 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Location: Monash University, Room E561, (Menzies Building) 20 Chancellors Walk, Clayton Campus

School of Social Sciences (SoSS)

Joint Seminar

Domestic Homicide and Policy Interventions in the United Kingdom

A joint seminar presented by the School of Social Science’s Gender & Family Violence: New Frameworks in Prevention focus program.  

Real lives, lost lives: ‘positive’ policing and domestic homicide – Sandra Walklate

Despite a range of different policy interventions designed to respond to violence
against women since the early 1980s to the present it remains the case that at least
two women are murdered every week in the UK by their partners and/or ex-partners.
Similar patterns of homicide are found elsewhere across the globe. In many
jurisdictions the response of front-line officers has come under close scrutiny in the
light of such figures particularly when the private act of violence becomes a public
act of murder. This paper reports on a thematic analysis of publicly available
Independent Police Complaint Commission investigations of domestic murders and
considers the extent to which ‘positive’ policing interventions featured in these cases and what might be learned from them.

Silent Witness? Reviewing domestic homicides in the UK – Louise Westmarland

One of the policy interventions which has attempted to reduce the number of
‘domestic’ homicides in the UK is the requirement to have an independent inquiry
into the circumstances leading up to any death involving partners or ex-partners.
Since 2011, Local Authorities in England and Wales have had a statutory duty to
appoint and fund a Domestic Homicide Review, chaired by a trained and accredited
independent person. The Chair is empowered to seek intimate personal information
about the victim and perpetrator, any contact (or lack of it) by statutory agencies
such as the police, and to look into any possible interventions that could have made
a difference in saving the victim’s life. Despite the supposed concentration on the
victim as the focus of the Review however, this paper explores how the voice of the
‘Silent Witness’ is often lost, or suppressed in this process, and brings the purpose of
the reviews into question.


Professor Sandra Walklate is currently Eleanor Rathbone Chair of Sociology at the
University of Liverpool, U.K., conjoint Chair of Criminology, Monash University,
Editor in Chief of the British Journal of Criminology and adjunct professor at QUT in Brisbane. Sandra has been researching criminal victimisation since the early 1980s
with a particular focus on gendered violence(s) and the fear of crime. Over the last
fifteen years Sandra’s interest has also become focused on fear and victimisation in
relation to the impact of terrorism and related policy particularly in relation to
processes of radicalisation. With colleagues at Monash University Sandra is the
international partner for an ARC funded grant looking at intimate partner homicide as
part of their Family Violence Focus Programme.

Professor Louise Westmarland is Professor of Criminology at The Open
University. Louise’s research focuses on the police and their occupational culture.
This has included studies of gender and policing, homicide investigations and most
recently corruption, integrity and ethics. Louise is an accredited Home Office
Domestic Homicide Investigator, and conducts review of the circumstances around
deaths of a person by a family member, partner or former partner.

Thursday 15th February

3:00pm – 4:30pm

E561, Level 5
Menzies Building, 20 Chancellors Walk
Clayton Campus

For more information and to RSVP, please contact
by Monday 12th February.

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