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Partnership or Palming Off?: Involvement in Partnership Initiatives on Domestic Violence

NCJ Number
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 27 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2008 Pages: 170-188
Kirsty Welsh
Date Published
May 2008
19 pages
This article reviews research on the policy and practice of using interagency partnerships in responding to domestic violence cases in the United Kingdom.
Domestic-violence victimization typically involves a combination of physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse that often becomes more severe over time and at certain risk points (e.g., pregnancy). Victims and their children often need assistance from a range of agencies that provide different services and professional expertise. Efforts to forge partnerships among these agencies in dealing with domestic violence first developed in the mid-1970s, as practitioners working in the shelter movement identified the multiple problems that domestic-violence victims faced. The British Home Office has, for a number of years, encouraged local domestic-violence interagency partnerships. Such local partnerships have developed with considerable variation in their membership, aims, objectives, structures, and other features; however, most have focused on "joint-talking" rather than "joint-working." Although some partnership initiatives have involved joint work, it has been limited to areas such as the examination of local agencies' policy and practice and providing training or assistance in the development of good practice. Little has been done in coordinating interagency direct services to domestic-violence victims and their children. Another pattern for these partnerships pertains to attendance of agency representatives at partnership meetings. Attendance has been poor for representatives of government agencies in the areas of criminal justice services, health services, education services, and social work services for domestic-violence victims. Those who regularly attend partnership meetings tend to be representatives of nongovernmental organizations that use a large proportion of volunteers. This suggests that local governments have failed to give priority to involving their agencies and professionals in a comprehensive interagency, communitywide response to domestic violence. 10 notes and 62 references