Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry has welcomed a national report praising the force’s response to preventing domestic abuse and protecting victims during the pandemic.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) carried out a review looking at how police forces in England and Wales had responded to the unique challenges Covid-19 placed on preventing and responding to domestic abuse.
HMICFRS said the pandemic had put domestic abuse victims at greater risk but it praised the police for responding proactively to demand, making good use of technology and working with partners to find new ways to support victims.
In the report, Nottinghamshire received praise in a number of key areas including its innovative move to move follow-up visits for victims at medium risk of domestic abuse from its neighbourhood policing teams to its research and insight team, enabling staff to contact victims by telephone and guide them to support services.
Commissioner Henry said: “Preventing domestic abuse and supporting the recovery of victims and survivors are paramount to my safety priorities for Nottinghamshire.
“We’ve made great strides to expand the quality and availability of victim care through the commissioning of new services and resources including extra Independent Domestic Violence Advisors across the county.
“But I firmly believe prevention cannot be successful unless we challenge the behaviours and attitudes that drive abuse by making offenders accountable for their actions and providing opportunities for them to address their behaviour. I’m pleased HMICFRS has recognised our progress in this area.
“I’m determined to be a Commissioner of action not just words. We owe it to victims to not only listen and provide sensitive, specialist support but to secure justice and protect other vulnerable people suffering in the future and we are working hard with all our partners to achieve this.”
- Between May and October 2020, the Research and Insight Team contacted 676 domestic abuse victims by telephone or letter, which HMICFRS said ensured victims had the details of any support services that might be able to help them following the report to police.
- Nottinghamshire was also highlighted for its approach to persistent offenders, with mention made of the focus of neighbourhood teams on perpetrators as well as the use of perpetrator-centred orders as part of a court sentence.
- The number of cases involving Outcome 15 (where a victim supports the prosecution but where there are evidential difficulties) or Outcome 16 (where a suspect has been identified but the victim no longer supports the prosecution) is comparatively lower in Nottinghamshire than many other force areas.
- Nottinghamshire received mention for its approach to the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) which enables a person who is or was in an intimate relationship with a previously violent or abusive individual to apply to the police for a disclosure about their past to better protect potential victims.
- The report noted that every domestic abuse occurrence in Nottinghamshire is now subject to consideration for the ‘right to know’ as part of the risk assessment process. As a result, the force is on track to have more DVDS applications that last year.
- The Nottinghamshire force was listed as one of those which had exceeded the minimum number of MARAC (multi-agency risk assessment conference) meetings recommended by the national charity SafeLives. These are meetings between police, health, child protection, housing practitioners, IDVAs, probation and other specialists to share information on the highest risk domestic abuse cases and safeguard victims.
- In the 12 months to March 2020, the police service in England and Wales received approximately 1,150,000 domestic abuse calls – an average of 130 calls an hour. In an average 24-hour period there around 3,100 domestic abuse calls.
- The inspectorate also said it had significant concerns about court backlogs, which whilst not for the police to solve, may increase the likelihood of victims disengaging
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Posted on Saturday 26th June 2021