Major investigation and public protection

Authorised professional practice on domestic abuse

A full index of the content of Domestic abuse APP is available.

This authorised professional practice (APP) on domestic abuse has been developed through the consolidation and updating of pre-existing guidance* and professional expertise of police and voluntary sector practitioners. The section on risk assessment and risk factors draws on findings from systematic reviews of research evidence. Where the guidance draws on any empirical evidence it is explicitly referenced in the text.

The APP responds to a number of developments in the field of domestic abuse, in particular a new Home Office definition of domestic violence and abuse. The definition recognises the significance of controlling or coercive behaviour in better understanding domestic abuse. During the development of this APP, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) also released its findings from a major inspection of how all police forces in England and Wales handle allegations of domestic abuse. These findings have been taken into account when developing the new APP.

A draft version of the APP was subject to consultation from 10 December 2014 to 18 February 2015. Extensive feedback was received from police forces, public bodies, the third sector, academia, and members of the public.  All of this feedback has been instrumental in developing the final version.


*ACPO (now NPCC) (2008) Guidance on Investigating Domestic Abuse

Page last accessed 23 September 2020