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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 January 2008, 17:22 GMT
Domestic abuse register 'needed'
Victim of abuse (generic)
It is estimated there are 13 million domestic violence incidents a year
A domestic violence register like that for sex offenders should be set up in an effort to cut deaths caused by wife- and husband-beating, MPs have heard.

It would help track abusive men and women who move from one relationship to another, the Commons home affairs committee was told.

Brian Moore, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said such a register could save scores of lives.

There was currently "inadequate sharing" of information, he added.

'Extra thought'

The sex offenders register, created in 1997, forces criminals to keep police informed about their home address and other details.

Mr Moore, chief constable of Wiltshire Police, told the committee: "There is no domestic violence abuse register on which perpetrators should be placed.

"I think it should be given considerable extra thought by virtue of the marked correlation between domestic violence and homicide or serious violence.

We have to act now because year on year other people are losing their lives
Brian Moore, ACPO

"Those who go from relationship to relationship across boundaries should be subject to amenable and proportionate tracking."

Mr Moore said that while Victim Support helped more than 400,000 victims of domestic violence a year, research indicated there were a "huge" 13 million incidents a year.

In 2006/07, 142 people were killed in attacks within the home - including 38 men.

'Clearest picture'

Mr Moore said: "There is inadequate information sharing between agencies.

"Each agency may have part of the picture. But it is only when all these pieces of information come together from police, education, social services and from housing authorities that we have the clearest picture of those at risk.

"The law in this regard is inadequate. The law on information sharing is passive - there is no obligation to share when someone is at risk.

"We have to act now because year-on-year other people are losing their lives because of this gap in the law."

Mr Moore said the Home Office had adopted a wait-and-see policy and did not appear to want to resort to a change in the law.

He added: "I wish I could share their optimism. There are thousands of protocols about sharing information. Thousands of protocols must tell you that there is no clear system."

After the committee hearing Mr Moore said he believed the number of domestic abuse-related deaths each year could be halved by adopting better data-sharing methods.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We encourage agencies to share information to identify and manage potential risk.

"This is also reflected in the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs) for domestic violence cases.

"The government established Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships on a statutory basis. This puts the emphasis on agencies working together to tackle crime."

SEE ALSO
Abuse and 'honour crime' probed
14 Jan 08 |  UK Politics
'Honour crime' meeting to be held
11 Jan 08 |  Lancashire

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