Lancs Police drive to highlight domestic abuse

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Lancs Police drive to highlight domestic abuse

LANCASHIRE Constabulary has launched a week-long campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse.

Starting today (Tuesday 4 March 2014), the In Focus – Domestic Abuse behaviour initiative is part of a national campaign, led by the Association of Chief Police Officers, which will see police forces across the country highlighting how they work to tackle domestic abuse.

During the week, the Constabulary will be alerting the public about what domestic abuse is, the tell-tale signs and how to get the help they require.

Detective Chief Inspector Sue Cawley from Lancashire Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit said, “We know that many people assume that domestic abuse is just about violence, but it covers any type of physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence and control.   “We want people to know that this often hidden crime can affect anyone, regardless of social background, age, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnic background. It can happen to anyone from any community and in any walk of life. Domestic abuse doesn’t differentiate by class or sexual persuasion.”

Throughout the awareness week, tweets and Facebook messages will feature on the Constabulary’s accounts – @lancspolice and – which link in with the current ‘Take the Step’ campaign being promoted by Lancashire Constabulary and the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, aimed at signposting domestic abuse victims to the assistance they require. All the messages will feature the hashtag #takethestep.

There are already various ways that Lancashire officers and partner agencies work to protect victims and also assist perpetrators in helping them to stop their violent, controlling behaviour.

DCI Cawley continued: “In order to educate and assist victims and offenders, a multi-agency input is extremely important to address the reasons for the abuse, and to break the cycle.”

Within each policing division, there are dedicated domestic abuse teams that investigate these types of incidents and safeguard high risk victims.

Monthly Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs) take place throughout the county each month. Here, a number of agencies, including Lancashire Police, adult and children Social Services, the Probation Service, the NHS and Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA) get together to discuss how they can protect domestic violence victims who are at a high risk of serious injury.

Ten of these meetings take place across Lancashire, including in Blackburn, Blackpool, Burnley, Chorley (West Lancashire), Preston and Lancaster.

Officers also work with other services in the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), currently based in Leyland, with each agency –  including Lancashire Constabulary, Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council’s Children’s and Adult’s Services, Lancashire Probation Trust, the NHS (including mental health services) and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) – based in one building, allowing the efficient sharing of information. Once a person at risk is referred into the MASH, the different services undertake a joint risk assessment, arranging for appropriate interventions to reduce the threat of harm to the individual.

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “I have seen first-hand the devastating impact domestic abuse can have on victims, and the struggle they often face to re-build their lives in the aftermath.

“I can reassure all residents it is something I, along with Lancashire Constabulary, am committed to tackling. I want all victims to feel they have a choice to break free of the abuse – whether that means contacting the police or accessing help and support from a local support service.

“That is why I have joined forces with domestic abuse services across Lancashire to launch the county-wide Take the Step, Make the Call campaign. It aims to empower victims of domestic abuse to take action – and hopefully by working together and speaking out we can take the step towards ending domestic abuse in Lancashire.”

Work is additionally underway with offenders in Preston and Blackpool where pilot schemes are in place to help domestic violence offenders identify their triggers and change their behaviour.*

In the past year, there has been a slight reduction in reports of domestic abuse-related incidents with 4,912 reports between April 2013 to January 2014, compared to 5,001 incidents reported to police between April 2013 to January 2013.

DCI Sue Cawley added: “We have seen rises in reporting of domestic abuse incidents over the past four or five years but we know that it still a widely under reported, hidden crime.

“Domestic violence victims suffer, on average, around 35 incidents before contacting the police. I would like to see people reporting any incident as soon as they happen so that we, and the other organisations that we work with, can intervene and support victims who may be at risk.”

At the end of the awareness week, the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, more widely known as ‘Clare’s Law’ will launch in Lancashire to coincide with International Women’s Day. This will allow members of the public to formally enquire about someone that they are in an intimate relationship with, or who is in a relationship with someone they know, and there is a concern that the individual may be abusive.

Anyone with information or concerns about domestic abuse can contact police on 101 or can find out their local help service at In an emergency, always dial 999.

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