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Improving Frontline Responses to High Impact Domestic Violence

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - IMPRODOVA (Improving Frontline Responses to High Impact Domestic Violence)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2021-08-31

European countries are built on societal values of safety, peace and welfare, and legal frameworks, which are respected as they work to uphold such ideals. Within this vision, the private and domestic spaces of families and intimate partnerships might be supposed as the safest of places. Yet all too often it seems the contrary is true, and such relations instead prove dangerous, life-threatening and even life-ending in some scenarios. The traditionally thought of private sphere in which such modes of violence are perpetrated, coupled with the often physical, psychological and coercive nature of the violence, mark out just some of the ways in which victims and survivors may struggle to make their ordeal visible within a public arena. At the same time, domestic violence (DV) comes at a tremendously high cost to the public purse (not least funding for law enforcement, health and social care), as well as a much more pervasive set of social and opportunity costs to those affected by DV, leaving no doubt that DV is of public and social concern. Increasingly, joint action by frontline responders – especially between police, health care and social workers – is seen as a positive response to the harms that domestic violence victims, survivors and their children face. Such inter-agency modes of cooperation, however, appear far from consistent across EU member countries, hindered by various influences including human factors. IMPRODOVA attends to this gap by researching and enhancing inter-agency cooperation and performance in order to mitigate high impact domestic violence also taking existing heterogeneities across different settings into account.
IMPRODOVA developed new and re-designed existing tool kits, guidance and training for frontline responders exploiting the results of in-depth field research, using first-hand stakeholder knowledge and addressing gaps identified, taking into account variations across different national and local sites. More specifically, IMPRODOVA up five toolkits and one roadmap: (1) IMPRODOVA Policy Development Module, (2) IMPRODOVA Data Improvement Recommendations, (3) IMPRODOVA Integration Module of HIDV Risk Assessment Tools And Case Documentation, (4) IMPRODOVA Training Platform, (5) National Response Platform Pilot, and the (6) IMPRODOVA Roadmap Towards A European Response Platform & DV Handbook (accepted by University of Maribor Press). Within these tools, IMPRODOVA mapped regulatory frameworks, outlining how the present guidelines shape fieldwork and co-operation of frontline responders. Additionally, risk assessment formats and training materials responded to the shortcomings and incompatibilities of institutional response to HIDV in Europe identified during the first reporting period by highlighting and describing best practices and the role of human factors. In order to validate the appropriateness of the tools, IMPRODOVA assessed and adapt the five tools and guidelines using stakeholder feedback to demonstrate the feasibility of an innovative approach to support and govern frontline responder networks in HIDV, exploiting stakeholder knowledge, using a bottom-up strategy to identify and productively address human factors. IMPRODOVA results have been widely disseminated on targeting frontline responders and the general public by various means: via material on the IMPRODOVA-website; presence of IMPRODOVA in the media (social, printed, online, and TV), at conferences, stakeholder meetings and lectures; publications on (inter-)national level including a book on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on DV.
Research and output by the IMPRODOVA project improved and still improves the cooperation and performance of frontline responder ecosystems thereby improving support of DV victims. The IMPRODOVA tools and the material developed in IMPRODOVA are continuously utilized for training and education of frontline responders and students of the police, social and medical sector. IMPRODOVA results have been presented at many occasions at local, national and international level. Also after the end of IMPRODOVA, communities and media outlets invite Consortium members for presentations and expert opinions basing on IMPRODOVA research. Central to all these activities is the IMPRODOVA training platform including the IMPRODOVA Risk Assessment Module (RAIMO), also forming the basis for police training on DV in Greece, and the production of the French handbook on the management of DV for the Gendarmerie through which in France every English-speaking gendarme will be informed about the IMPRODOVA training platform. This approach has been supported by the French ministries and also led to their elaboration of a new risk assessment tool, which is now applied by gendarmes at every French DV incident and already led to an increase of victims pressing charges against their perpetrators. In the same vein, IMPRODOVA supported the Finnish police in developing a DV checklist (initial risk assessment) for the use of the patrol officers to better be able to identify DV. Altogether, IMPRODOVA research had an impact on frontline responder services, policy makers, the scientific community and the general public.
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