Domestic Violence Training for Frontline Officers


In the period April to September 2015, the police forces of England and Wales and British Transport Police recorded 206,815 offences that were domestic abuse related. Overall, 11% of all offences recorded by the police were flagged as domestic abuse related. The proportion of violent offences that were domestic abuse related was highest for women aged 20 to 34 (60%) (ONS, 2016). An HMIC inspection of the police response to DV in 2014 found that ‘the overall police response to victims of domestic abuse is not good enough’ (HMIC, 2014: 6). Factors that contributed to this in relation to this study included (HMIC, 2014: 7):

  • Failure to prioritise action that will tackle DV when setting the priorities for the day-to-day activity of frontline officers and assigning their work;
  • Officers lacking the skills and knowledge necessary to engage confidently and competently with victims of DV;
  • Extremely limited systematic feedback from victims about their experience of the police response.

This project focuses on police responses to reports of domestic violence and the support received by victims. It focuses specifically on the response of frontline officers. The study is conducted in collaboration with a police force in the East Midlands in order to provide recommendations and an evidence-base to inform the support provided to victims of domestic violence, and to improve domestic violence training for frontline police officers.


Research aims

  • To explore how frontline officers intervene in domestic violence (DV) incidents and how response and support mechanisms can be improved to further support victims;
  • To explore frontline officers’ views and experiences of the training provided in relation to victim support and DV;
  • To explore DV victim interactions with police in order to improve the experience for the victim.
  • To further understand what victims of DV need and want;
  • To explore how police forces can improve the support provided to victims who have mental health issues.



  • Approximately 20 semi-structured interviews with victims of DV who have reported an incident to the police;
  • Approximately 20 semi-structured interviews with front line officers who regularly respond to reports of DV;
  • Thematic analysis of data.



Timeline of activity


Project plan summary Proposed timeframe
Meeting with lead of public protection unit and Rich StaplefordMay – June 16
Data collection tool development June 16
Interviews with front line officers (x15)July – Aug 16
Interviews with DV victims (x15)Aug – Sept 16
Analysis of interview dataOct 16
Write up findings and final reportNov 16
Present findings at EMPAC annual conferenceMarch 17



HMIC (2014) Everyone’s Business: Improving the Police Response to Domestic Abuse. London: HMIC.

Office for National Statistics (2016) Experimental Statistics 2: Domestic Abuse Offences Recorded by the Police, April to September 2015. Available at:
yearendingmarch2015/experimentalstatistics2domesticabuseoffencesrecordedbythepoliceapriltoseptember2015 (accessed 24 April 2016)