Serious failings in the management of domestic abusers living in the community are laid bare in a major new report.
Inspectors found contact with offenders was too infrequent, leaving many to “drift” through their supervision without being challenged over their “predilection” for violence.
Staff often underestimated the level of harm victims were exposed to and there were “grave concerns” about some practices, the assessment warned.
In seven cases, a watchdog demanded immediate action to ensure the safety of victims and children.
HM Inspectorate of Probation found poor practice was widespread in community rehabilitation companies (CRCs), which supervise thousands of low and medium-risk offenders across England and Wales.
Chief Inspector Dame Glenys Stacey said: “Too often we were left wondering how safe victims and children were, especially when practitioners failed to act on new information indicating that they could be in danger.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that many individuals were drifting through their supervision period without being challenged or supported to change their predilection for domestic violence.
“CRCs play a crucial role in supervising perpetrators of domestic abuse and we found they were nowhere near effective enough.”
The report assessed arrangements for supervising perpetrators of domestic abuse after they are released from prison or sentenced to a community order.
Overall, the watchdog said it was a concerning picture, with only “pockets” of good practice.