Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs)

The requirement to undertake domestic homicide reviews (DHRs) was established on a statutory basis on 13 April 2011 under Section 9 of the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act (2004). Under Section 9(1) of the Act, local areas are required to conduct a multi-agency review if the death meets the criteria.

For Bexley, overall responsibility for establishing a review rests with Bexley Community Safety Partnership (BCSP) which is made up of representatives from the ‘responsible authorities’ (Local Authority, police, fire and rescue, probation services and health) who work together to protect their local communities from crime and help people feel safer.

When should DHRs happen?

A domestic homicide is defined to have occurred if the death of a person aged 16 or over has, or appears to have, resulted from violence, abuse or neglect by a person to whom they were related or with whom they were, or had been, in an intimate personal relationship, or a member of the same household as themselves OR were a victim took their own life (suicide) and the circumstances give rise to concern, for example it emerges that there was coercive controlling behaviour in the relationship, even if a suspect is not charged with an offence or they are tried and acquitted.

If one or more of these criteria are met, a review should be undertaken, even if a suspect is not charged with an offence or they are tried and acquitted. Reviews are not about who is culpable.

Purpose of a DHR

The purpose of a domestic homicide review isn't to investigate how the victim died or who is responsible. It is to understand what lessons services can be learnt from the death of the victim to prevent further domestic violence homicides from occurring in the future.

The main purpose of DHRs is to:

  • prevent domestic violence and homicide
  • ensure that abuse is identified and responded to effectively at the earliest opportunity
  • improving service responses for victims through a coordinated multi-agency approach

The Home Office have provided helpful documents regarding DHRs including the DHR Guidance (updated in 2016), key findings and leaflets.

London Borough of Bexley has also developed a DHR toolkit for multi-agency partners to understand the process of a review within Bexley:

Further guidance

If you believe a death might fit the criteria for a DHR, please email the Bexley Community Safety Partnership:

DHR reports

In line with the statutory guidance around quality assurance, each community safety partnership should publish the DHR reports (overview report and executive summary report) and final letter from the Home Office Quality Assurance Panel on its website. You can find these reports below.

Related documents

Domestic Homicide Review 4 - Blue