Skip to content

Devon Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board Terms of Reference


Last Updated

1. Key purpose

The Devon interpersonal and gender-based violence and abuse Local Partnership Board is a collaborative group working towards improving outcomes for victims and survivors of interpersonal and gender-based violence including domestic and sexual violence and abuse. This is achieved through a strategic approach to sharing knowledge and intelligence, identifying and, where possible, addressing gaps in support and is founded on listening and engaging with those with lived experience and supported by expert evidence base, to continuously learn and improve. 

The Board activity is focused on: 

  • Domestic abuse support for victims and survivors including children and support/challenge for those that display abusive behaviours – the Board will work collaboratively to improve the experience and outcomes for all those affected by domestic abuse. This will include the full range of possible activities including prevention/disruption, early, universal and specialist interventions and supporting those with complex lives. 
  • Domestic abuse support in safe accommodation for victims and survivors including children – the Board will support Devon County Council (DCC) in meeting its duty under Part 4 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.  In this context, members will work together to support, advise and work in partnership with Devon County Council to ensure victims and survivors of domestic abuse have access to adequate and appropriate support within relevant safe accommodation services. 
  • Interpersonal and/or gender-based violence in public or in private – the Board will work collaboratively to explore opportunities to improve the experience and outcomes for victims and survivors. The Board will also work collaboratively with other Partnerships and Forums in Devon, and across the wider peninsula, to explore opportunities to tackle the causes and culture of said violence   

All the above is underpinned by the Board’s commitment to listen and learn from the voices of lived experience and apply the learning through co-design and co-production.   

The Board will establish an equitable partnership that reflects the needs of those impacted by interpersonal and gender-based violence in the local area and work to ensure victims, survivors and perpetrators have access to appropriate and specialist support. 

2. Values and behaviours

Board members commit to: 

Be respectful – regardless of organisational origin, we are all regarded as equal and our contribution to Board activity is equally valued and respected. 

Share responsibility – members will have different levels and type of accountability; however, we all share a collective responsibility to support this agenda and do what is right for victims and survivors and perpetrators. 

Be transparent – we always conduct ourselves with consistent integrity and transparency, creating an environment where open constructive challenge is encouraged and welcomed.  Where any discussion might give rise to the risk or appearance of conflict of interest for any members, the Chair will ask any members affected to withdraw from the meeting during that discussion. 

Be accountable – we hold ourselves and each other to account in the best interests of victims and survivors and perpetrators. 

Be trauma informed – we place relationships between each other and with those affected by domestic abuse at the heart of everything we do, acknowledge that trauma may affect us all and display this awareness in our behaviour and interactions. 

Value lived experience – we focus on what matters, the experience of people affected by domestic abuse, interpersonal and gender-based violence and we ensure that their voice is heard by the Board at all times. 

3. Mode and frequency

The Board will meet on a bi-monthly basis. Of the 6 yearly meetings, 2 will be in person and 4 virtual/hybrid.   

4. Agenda, minutes and action logs

Members will be able to put forward suggested agenda items for consideration. The secretariat, administered by DCC, will circulate final agendas at least five working days ahead of meetings. 

Standing agenda items will include:  

  • Celebrating Success 
  • Good practice sharing open section 
  • Review of DCC delivery of the Strategy for Domestic Abuse in Safe Accommodation. 
  • Hearing, learning from and responding to the voice of lived experience including, victims/ survivors, children and families and significant others’ voices through DHR processes 
  • Equality, diversity and Inclusion  

Minutes will be taken by DCC and documented in a summary and actions log which will be circulated in advance of the following meeting. Actions will be discussed by exception only in the meeting. 

5. Chair & Membership

The Board is chaired by Michele Thornberry (NHS Devon Integrated Care Board).  

The vice Chair of the Board is Kate Stephens (Public Heath – Devon County Council).  

The Board comprises a number of responsible bodies, agencies, individuals and organisations with a shared interest in this agenda. This will include all that are required to be represented by law under the Domestic Abuse Act, 2021, Part 4.  

The Board is required to ensure the voice of victims and survivors is heard and present throughout their activity and central to any decision making.   

A full list of members can be found in Annex B. 

6. Responsibilities

Members are responsible for ensuring they report back and feed into the Board on behalf of their represented group/ organisation/ body.   

Where members are unable to attend a meeting, they are responsible for informing the Board ahead of the meeting and, as far as possible, should ensure a fully briefed representative is present on behalf of the organisation / body.  

The Board will:  

  • Act as advocates and ambassadors for victims and survivors, including children and those that, tragically, did not survive and their families,  
  • Consider needs and opportunities brought forward by Board members and identify possible responses by agencies, partnerships or dedicated working groups.  This will include considerations around a range of priorities relevant to domestic abuse, interpersonal and gender-based violence where a collaboratively coproduced response is required, especially when this is required to effect system change. Enable members to highlight needs and opportunities to improve services in Devon and facilitate improvements to be made. 
  • Provide advice and data to support: 
  • Devon County Council to undertake and update a robust local needs assessment to identify and understand the needs of domestic abuse victims within their area (including those that present from out of area).  
  • In reference to compliance to   the development and regular review of a local strategy and delivery plan  
  • Where relevant, provide data to support Devon County Council in reporting activity related to the duty to provide accommodation-based domestic abuse support under Part 4 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.  
  • Give adults, young people and children with lived experience a voice and engage effectively with victims and survivors in order to better understand the range and complexity of needs and, ultimately coproduce a response to the needs identified  
  • Where appropriate, engage with all partners in conversations and planning around commissioning, decommissioning and resourcing, to ensure the best and most appropriate forms of support are made available for victims and survivors of domestic abuse (only).  
  • Ensure that strategy and service delivery for domestic abuse support (including accommodation based) considers and complements other related areas of need and support including but not limited to housing, health, early years and childhood support, social services and police and crime services  
  • Advise and support the Board in appropriately addressing risks and points of concern identified within the business of the Board, through shared problem solving and escalation processes.  
  • Escalate issues to the relevant representative/body.  
  • Adopt and adhere to the ethical framework for seeking, listening and responding to the voices of victims and survivors. (see Annex A). 

7. Governance

Safer Devon Partnership structure chart. Domestic abuse and gender- based violence has three sub sections of Sub working groups, Sub T&F groups and DHR Core Group

 The Board will report, through the Chair, to the Safer Devon Partnership. This will include progress updates but excludes accountabilities under Part 4 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. 

The Board will support Devon County Council in reporting activity related to the purpose of the Board in respect of the duty to provide accommodation-based domestic abuse support under Part 4 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. This includes reporting back to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on delivering the duty in line with statutory guidance. 

Sub working groups and T&F groups will provide regular workstream updates. 

The DHR core group will report, through the Chair, to the Domestic abuse and gender-based violence Partnership Board.  

8. Subgroups

In order to ensure a dynamic and solution focused response, the Board will be able to delegate any actions arising from discussion to one or more of the subgroups operating under its oversight.   

These include:  

  • Lived experience  
  • Staying Put Task &Finish (T&F) 
  • System connections/ building together  
  • Increasing places of safety/ safe accommodation T&F  
  • Needs Assessment and Strategy T&F    
  • Diversity, inclusion and protected characteristics  

If the Board identifies required activity that does not fall under any of the above, additional subgroups may be agreed. 

The Domestic Homicide Review (DHR) core group will report, through its Chair, to this Partnership Board in order to share the lessons learned from DHRs, the impact of recommendations and action plans from those reviews and any consequences for the commissioning and decommissioning of services. 

9. Review

These Terms of Reference were adopted by the Board on 29th March 2023 and will be reviewed yearly 

Subgroups will be reviewed on a dynamic and more regular basis 

Annex A: Ethical framework for engagement with holders of lived experience of domestic abuse

Purpose of the Framework 

To describe why and how the Devon Domestic Local Partnership Board and its members hear, understand and respond to people who have experienced or are experiencing domestic violence and abuse.  


As a partnership we are committed to making visible and learning from people’s ‘lived experience’ of domestic violence and abuse in order to improve the individual, service and system impact of our work.  

The safety and care of people sharing their stories is our primary concern and this Framework sets out how we engage, listen to and respond to people who share their stories with us.  

We also recognise that as Board members, we will hear experiences that are hard to hear and respond to. We need to help each other in this work so we can continue to listen and hear and take action.  

  • The ethical framework is a living document which affects how we think and how we practice (setting the culture change) 
  • We acknowledge (to those with lived experience and with each other) that we haven’t got it right and we need to keep listening and learning  
  • This is a journey, and we get better at doing the work  
  • We need to develop the framework (our standards) and bring in layers of accountability (e.g. a ‘you said, we did’ type model) in response to hearing voices of lived experience – showing what we have done with what have heard – our Terms of Engagement 

Outcomes / Conditions we seek to create in the Board  

  • We work as a ‘human, learning, system’. Our cornerstone is to hear and understand how and where our services help and where they don’t. When we engage in joint sense making of ‘what matters’ we are better able to contribute to constructive ‘problem solving’. Listening can and should help constantly orientate in the direction of creating value and impact 
  • We build a collaborative, reflective, learning culture. Listening can help to suspend the ‘roles’ / professional lens which limits what is explored and what is heard 
  • Transparency and accountability are fundamental parts of working with each other and with the people requiring the support, the services and organisations we work in and the ‘sum’ of all of this, recognising that the health of the system is paramount.  

 The key aspects of our Framework are –  

  • Emotional, physical and psychological safety 
  • Agenda set / negotiated and terms of engagement agreed by people with Lived Experience 
  • Protecting the person from emotional harm 
  • Non-Exploitative 

Emotional, physical and psychological safety 

  • We acknowledge the effects of Lived Experience on professionals – e.g. shame attached to child protection or limited housing options for people escaping domestic abuse 
  • We acknowledge that hearing and telling stories can be triggering and pose threats to people’s emotional and physical safety and well being  
  • We recognise each stage of recovery when they share their story and the support they need to keep safe and well 
  • We recognise the emotional effects on listener and audience and we support one another to maintain resilience to continue to listen 

Agenda set / negotiated and terms of engagement agreed by people with Lived Experience  

  • The person with lived experience understands the purpose of sharing their experience AND feels in control of the process their narrative and the have the right to withdraw at any point. Their story remains THEIR story!  
  • We will acknowledge the diversity and uniqueness of people sharing their stories and why they are sharing their story and what they want to happen.  
  • We are clear about what we heard, what learning we’ve derived and what will happen next.  We will feed this back to the person who shared their story if and how they want  

Protecting the person from emotional harm 

  • We will work with people to help them prepare to tell their story 
  • We will work sensitively and flexibly, recognising that people sharing their stories will have good days/bad days & we will use different methods of sharing experiences (e.g. written narrative/video/voice) 
  • We will ensure people are supported before, during and after their sharing 


  • We will value the time people take to share their story by paying for the person’s time 
  • The duty of care and well-being is all our responsibility   

Annex B: Representation and membership

This list of representation and membership is current at 29/03/23 

-Representing Organisation/Service Name 
Tier 1 authority:  

Devon County Council  


Adult Social Care and Safeguarding Paul Northcott 
Cabinet Portfolio Holder  Cllr Roger Croad 
Children Social Care – Safeguarding TBC 
Children Social care – Early Help TBC 
Devon Children and Families Partnership TBC 
Safer Lives and Communities Liz Cirasuolo, Rob Jones, Paula McGinnis, Simon Milner, Julie Richards 
Public Health Nursing Kate Stephens 
Education Safeguarding Jennifer Norris 
Public Health Jo Hewitt (children) 

Charlotte Pavitt (complex lives) 

Tier 2 authorities East Devon District Council Amy Gilbert-Jeans 
Exeter City Council Melinda Pogue-Jackson, Richard Crompton 
Mid Devon District Council Simon Newcombe 
North Devon Council Jeremy Mann 
South Hams District Council Isabel Blake 
Teignbridge District Council Tammy Hayes 
Torridge District Council Dean Smith 
West Devon Borough Council Isabel Blake 
Devon & Cornwall Housing Options Partnership Alex Purnell 
Victims and survivors of domestic abuse including Children of domestic abuse victims 


In addition to this being a standing agenda item, the voice of victims and the children of victims will be heard through thematic focus groups with themes identified by a working group of the Board. Thematic engagement will be co-produced with specialist support providers and group participants and will be carried out within the ethical framework agreed by the Board. 
Charities and voluntary organisations working with victims of interpersonal and gender-based violence Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services TBC
North Devon Against Domestic Abuse Hannah Ashford 
Safe Foundation Emma Morris 
FearLess  Marise Mackie, Emily Denne 
ISVA service TBC 
SARC Louise Barraclough 
Charities and voluntary organisations working with people and communities who experience barriers to accessing domestic abuse support (protected characteristics and complex lives) Co-Lab Exeter Jeanie Lynch 
Encompass Southwest Claire Fisher 
Intercom Trust Julia Boas 
Living Options Leila Manion 
Sunrise Diversity Ana Lodge 
SPACE Angela Coton 
Health care services NHS Devon Integrated Care Board Michele Thornberry 
NHS Devon Integrated Care Board Collette Eaton-Harris 
Devon Partnership Trust Penny Rogers 
Policing or criminal justice 


Devon and Cornwall Police DCI Lee Natrass 

DCI Dawn Perriam (VAWG Portfolio lead) 

HM Prison & Probation Service Louise Arscott 
Organisations commissioning services for victims or survivors of interpersonal and/or gender-based violence Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner Esther Bonfield 
Victim Support Soo Brizell 

John Miller