Specialist domestic abuse detectives and expert advisors are accompanying patrol officers to violent incidents in the family home this New Year to ensure victims receive the best care possible.
The ‘family crime Investigation Unit’ detective and the independent domestic abuse advisor (IDVA) will look after the victim while the uniformed officers will deal with the perpetrator.
The extra measures have been in place throughout December with some victims being successfully supported in going ahead with making a formal complaint to the police and others being helped in accessing advice from domestic abuse charities.
One woman helped by the police and IDVA during a weekend evening earlier this month went ahead with providing a witness statement against her attacker, despite initially being nervous and fearful, and has since emailed the IDVA/police thanking them for their help.
The initiative is being kept in place for the New Year when a higher number of people drink more and the influence of alcohol can escalate domestic incidents into domestic violence.
Detective Inspector Nick Suffield, Liverpool South CID, where one of the six divisional FCIUs is based, said: “Alcohol and drugs are never the root cause of domestic violence nor can they ever be used to justify domestic violence – it is a far more complex issue than that. However, we do know that people being intoxicated can trigger domestic incidents or escalate them more to a violent level and that is why we have been putting extra measures in place during the festive season.
“Victims of a domestic assault can often be very upset and emotional when the police are called to an incident and patrols often have to juggle looking after them while dealing with a suspect who may be acting extremely aggressively or violently. We went to ensure that victims who have had the courage to tell the police what has happened receive the best possible care and support from us from the very start.
“Highly experienced detectives who investigate domestic abuse day in day out and know how to deal with such a sensitive issue will work through the night and follow patrols to domestic incidents. They will be in a car alongside an independent domestic abuse advisor who is not employed by the police and can offer a range of advice on the spot to the victim to help them decide what to do next. The pair’s primary focus will be looking after the victim, taking them somewhere away from the offender to speak to them about what happened, and getting them all the help they need if they want to break away from the cycle of abuse they may be suffering.”
Earlier this year, police forces were given new powers to remove suspected perpetrators from the family home and order them to stay away or face arrest in order to give the victim time to think about what they do next. Police also work closely with IDVAs, and other approved/recognised agencies, to ensure victims remain supported if the case goes to court.
Det Insp Suffield added: “The domestic abuse detectives will also be able to provide expertise and advice to their patrol officer colleagues who may have the suspect under arrest. This will provide them with additional support in how to make use of all the new legislation available to them when dealing with an offender.
“Every domestic incident is unique to that family or that relationship and the background to each one can be very complex. It is only right that we use the right specialist resources whenever we can so that the victims of this terrible and under-reported crime are protected and their needs are put first.”
For more information about how to report domestic violence or to seek specialist support visit www.worstkeptsecret.co.uk or call 0800 028 3398
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