A POLICE watchdog report on police response to domestic abuse has been welcomed by those working with victims in Gwent.

The report released by HMIC yesterday found “significant concerns” regarding how the force responded to some victims of domestic abuse in Gwent.

Inspector for the Wales and Western Region, Dru Sharpling, said: “Risk assessments are not consistently applied and an absence of supervisory input or oversight results in victims not being given the same level of service across the force.”

Gwent Police is now cutting the size of its specialist domestic abuse unit but will be providing domestic abuse training to all frontline officers and staff.

Penny Chapman, deputy director at Torfaen Women’s Aid, said: “We met with the Police Protection Unit this week to offer our support with training police officers and to allow police to shadow our team to get a further insight into the complexity of domestic abuse.”

The report made 10 recommendations, including that Gwent should implement systems to identify repeat and vulnerable victims.

It was also welcomed by Welsh Women’s Aid.

Paula Hardy, chief executive of Welsh Women’s Aid, said: “Although Welsh Women’s Aid would like to praise those examples of good practice by police forces in Wales, it is disappointing but not surprising to see in black and white many of the same problems that have plagued this issue.”

Ms Hardy said she hoped the report could serve as the catalyst for real change to encourage more women to seek help.

Welsh Women’s Aid has campaigned for the four Wales’ police and crime commissioners to prioritise domestic abuse within their police and crime plans in 2012.