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New measures aimed at preventing deaths and investigating links between domestic abuse and suicide have been discussed at a national conference held by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster.

PCC Simon Foster commissioned a report into the link between domestic abuse and suicide with West Midlands Police, which was carried out by the University of Birmingham.

It was launched at a conference at Millennium Point, Birmingham, where police and other key stakeholders were invited to attend and listen to expert speakers, who shared the latest knowledge, research and innovation across the subject.

Speakers included Victims Commissioner Nicky Brennan, Assistant PCC Tom McNeil, Labour MP and Shadow Domestic Violence Secretary Jess Phillips, PCC Deputy Chief Executive Alethea Fuller and Louisa Rolfe, assistant commissioner for the Metropolitan Police and the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for domestic abuse.

West Midlands PCC, Simon Foster said: “In the West Midlands, I have been treating Violence Against Women and Girls and Domestic Abuse with the utmost seriousness. It has been – it is – and it always will be a top priority, for as long as I am Police and Crime Commissioner.

“I welcome the ‘Suicide following Domestic Abuse Conference’, in order to highlight the important connection between domestic abuse and suicide.

“I commissioned research by the University of Birmingham, that was presented to the conference, with a view to determining the action that needs to be taken to prevent future deaths; identify and investigate cases where domestic abuse is a causal factor of suicide, so that perpetrators of domestic abuse are held to account; and to improve support for the bereaved.

“My office has been leading various work in relation to the prevention of Domestic Homicides and Suicides. Most notably, this includes a re-design of the regional Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences and the development of a regional Domestic Abuse Perpetrator approach, culminating in the submission of a substantial region wide bid to the Home Office Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Fund.”

Assistant Chief Constable Charlie Doyle, the National Suicide Prevention Lead, said: “There is a clear intention to further progress policies and better understand the links between domestic abuse and suicide. Neither the domestic abuse sector of policing nor the suicide prevention sector can understand the links or reduce suicide following domestic abuse on their own; we need to work together collectively.”

Detective Superintendent Tony Hopkins added: “In my local and regional capacity as lead for domestic abuse and stalking, I know from the research and learning that suicide following domestic abuse and suspected victim suicide has the most tragic of consequences.

“Therefore, it is paramount to each and every one of us to continue to improve our coordinated community response to do our utmost to prevent future deaths and, when a tragedy such as suicide happens, to be prepared to do what we can as professionals, to hold perpetrators to account, seek a measure of justice and offer support for their loved ones.”

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