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Terms of reference for the Single Unified Safeguarding Review (SUSR) victim and family reference group.

First published:
21 June 2024
Last updated:


In 2018, both the academic review by Professor Amanda Robinson from Cardiff University and the Welsh Government practitioners' reviews by Liane James on Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHR), Adult Practice Reviews (APR), Mental Health Homicide Reviews (MHHR) and Child Practice Reviews (CPR) made recommendations concerning legislation, governance, policy, process, central repository, national library and learning and training in their reviews.

They both highlighted the need for co-ordination, collaboration, communication, and governance to be improved when conducting reviews in Wales.

The reviews exposed the complexity of devolved and non-devolved bodies undertaking reviews, in isolation and in some cases without Welsh Government knowledge or involvement, this created a chaotic review landscape in Wales.

In 2019, a project was established which set out to develop a new Single Unified Safeguarding Review (SUSR) in Wales, with a sole body providing overarching governance linked into a central repository to facilitate pan Wales learning and training. Central to this approach is to ensure the impacted family is at the heart of an expedient and rigorous review process, without them having to participate in an onerous and potentially traumatising cycle of information-giving and waiting.

The SUSR process has a support network which is facilitated by the co-ordination hub, which is linked to a Wales Safeguarding Repository (WSR).

To ensure the victim and family voice is central to this work going forward, a victim and family reference group has been created which forms a crucial part of the support network. The support structure for the SUSR is outlined in the diagram.

Image of the Single Unified support network including the ministerial board, strategy group, victim and family reference group, Wales Safeguarding Repository, co-ordination hub, and safeguarding boards and community safety partnerships connected together.

Role and purpose

The victim and family reference group provides a forum for the victim and family voice across Wales, to inform the delivery of the SUSR. By working closely with the other groups and boards that form part of the SUSR support network, it will ensure that the victim and family voice remains at the heart of the SUSR.

Members of the group will provide representation on behalf of victims and families in Wales in a diverse and inclusive way. They will also support their stakeholders to contribute to specific and relevant work of this group in a timely and meaningful way.

The victim and family reference group will work to:

  • review WSR thematic reports in relation to victim and family engagement and key emerging issues
  • provide guidance on victim and family issues related to the SUSR review process, when escalated
  • work with the co-ordination hub, safeguarding boards and community safety partnerships to review recommendations and actions relating to victims and families
  • shape production of SUSR products that can be incorporated within the SUSR toolkit
  • develop and inform future good practice guidance on victim and family engagement in the SUSR process
  • review and provide guidance on SUSR review reflections form feedback in relation to victim and family engagement
  • respond to relevant SUSR policy, statutory guidance, and legislative developments

In addition to this, members from the group will be identified to provide victim and family representation on the wider SUSR governance structure groups, including the SUSR ministerial board and strategy group. The chair of the victim and family reference group will appoint a representative in consultation with the group to undertake each role. To reflect the diverse membership of the victim and family group, representatives to attend the SUSR ministerial board will be identified on a rolling basis. The chosen member will be required to report back to the victim and family reference group on any work undertaken in that representative role.

At any time, the chair may also deem it necessary to invite other representatives or individuals to become a member of this group.

Chairing of meetings

The meetings will be facilitated and chaired by the co-ordination hub.


Initially 3 years with a review on an annual basis. Membership, including representative roles at the other SUSR strategy groups and ministerial board, will be continually reviewed to ensure members are bringing current and experiential practice to the process.

Commitment to meetings frequency

Twice yearly. Temporary sub-groups may be organised to undertake specific pieces of work on behalf of the group. In such cases all members will be invited to participate in these and contribute to delivering their aims and objectives.


As a member of this group, you are expected to participate as a representative of the specialism and discipline of the area in which you work and give support and advice utilising your experience.

You should maintain open dialogue regarding the work of this group with those you represent, to ensure the victim and family voice is best represented, and that those engaged are kept up to date.

Where members have contact with victims and families who have recently been through the SUSR process, and it is appropriate, members should provide the opportunity for individuals to become involved with the work of the group to ensure it remains current and provides real lived experience.

Working methods

The group will work to the following working methods:

  • Victim and family reference group meetings will usually be conducted remotely via Microsoft Teams. However, when engaging victim and families in the work of the group, they will be invited to help determine the most suitable approach to meet or undertake work. This might include use of advocates or other professional individuals and consideration of additional needs that will enable inclusive participation.
  • The chair of the group and secretariat will work to ensure enough lead-in time is provided to enable victims and families to engage effectively.
  • The co-ordination hub will arrange meetings and provide secretariat support. Action point notes will be sent out within 2 weeks of the meeting to enable actions to be addressed.
  • The victim and family reference group will review reports from the SUSR co-ordination hub, covering the following matters:
    • overview on number of reviews concluded and key recommendations
    • thematic learning and training events
    • risk and exception reporting
  • Communications with other SUSR groups and on the work of the group will be shared via the SUSR 7 minute briefing.
  • Future meeting dates will be set at the end of each meeting. Where the group needs to make an urgent decision, this may be done through electronic means, or via the calling of an additional meeting at the decision of the chair, but any member may put in a request.
  • The co-ordination hub may contact members of the group between meetings for specialist advice.


The following list includes the victim and family voice representative area and relevant organisations. The list will be reviewed on an annual basis.

Victim and family’s voice

Relevant organisations for the victim and family's voice representative area include:

  • WCVA
  • Victim’s Commissioner
  • NISB
  • Wales safeguarding boards

Children and young people

Relevant organisations for the children and young people representative area include:

  • National Youth Advocacy Service
  • Children’s Commissioner for Wales

Older people

Relevant organisations for the older people representative area include:

  • Dewis Choice
  • Cymru Older People’s Alliance (COPA)
  • Older People’s Commissioner for Wales
  • Age Cymru


Relevant organisation for the disability representative area includes:

  • Disability Wales


Relevant organisation for the race representative area includes:


Violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence (VAWDASV)

Relevant organisations for the VAWDASV representative area include:

  • Welsh Women’s Aid
  • VAWDASV Victims Service Provider

Honour based violence, forced marriages and female genital mutilation (FGM)

Relevant organisations for the honour based violence, forced marriages and FGM representative area include:

  • Halo Project
  • Women Connect First


Relevant organisations for the LGBTQ+ representative area include:

  • Stonewall Cymru
  • Galop

Mental health

Relevant organisation for the mental health representative area includes:

  • Hundred Families

Offensive weapons

Relevant organisations for the offensive weapons representative area include:

  • Ben Kinsella Trust
  • Fearless (Crimestoppers)

Other protected characteristic areas to consider

Relevant organisation includes:

  • Trans Aid Cymru

Victim and family specialist support

Relevant organisations for the victim and family specialist support representative area include:

  • Victim Support

Safeguarding board

The relevant representative role from safeguarding boards includes:

  • business manager representative

Academic and research lead

Relevant organisation for the academic and research representative area includes:

  • University of Westminster

National independent safeguarding voice 

Relevant organisation for the national independent safeguarding representative area includes:

  • National Independent Safeguarding Board (NISB)

Independent protecting vulnerable person manager

Relevant organisation to represent the independent protecting vulnerable person manager includes:

  • South Wales Police

Secretariat and co-ordination of the group will be provided by the SUSR co-ordination hub.

Version control

1Initial draft.Sarah Lamberton
2Ratified by the group on 7 September 2023.Sarah Lamberton