View Full Version : Partnership bid to reduce domestic abuse

01-Dec-11, 15:55
Problem is being treated as a priority

NORTHERN Constabulary Chief Constable George Graham today spoke of the importance of partnership working in reducing instances of domestic abuse across the Highlands and Islands.
The Chief Constable was joined by fellow officers, the Chair of Crimestoppers Highlands and Islands, Jim Ferguson and the Head of Integrated Children's Services at Highland Council, Jonathan King for Northern Constabulary's part in the national Violence Reduction Unit's campaign against domestic violence.
The Force regards domestic abuse as an area for priority attention and is committed to providing a professional and clear strategy, both to supporting victims as well as dealing with alleged perpetrators.
One part of the Force's strategy in addressing domestic violence has been to review domestic abuse incidents involving perpetrators who may have come to the attention of the Police in the past, which involves careful monitoring of all reports which arise from incidents of alleged domestic abuse.
The Force works closely with a number of partners to look at ways of reducing domestic abuse incidents across the Highlands and Islands, including Highland Council Social Work, NHS Highland, Victim Support, Women's Aid groups, Violence Against Women groups and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
The main aims of the campaign are to raise awareness of domestic abuse across the Highlands and Islands, to establish effective practices and partnerships in protecting victims from abuse and to tackle the high number of repeat domestic abuse offenders.
Chief Constable George Graham said: "Partnership working is critical in effectively challenging those behaviours relating to domestic abuse. To that end, Northern Constabulary will continue their work with its partners to ensure that as much as possible is done towards tackling the issue throughout the next phase of the national anti-violence campaign and beyond."
Domestic abuse also has an extremely negative effect on young people and children in a household. They should not be subjected to violence on any level.
Jonathan King, Head of Integrated Children's Services commented: "The impact of domestic violence on children in the household is frequently devastating and is long lasting.
"Everyone involved in children's services is likely to be working with children who face severe difficulties because of the violence (including emotional abuse) which has taken place between their parents, and they will join with me in welcoming this harm reduction initiative.
"This Police campaign is the most recent example of the established and effective local partnership between agencies which cooperate to safeguard Highlands children."
During this campaign and beyond, in addition to being reported for the offence anyone taken into custody for a domestic type offence will be issued with a bail warning letter. Those letters will cover certain actions that officers may carry out including unannounced visits to places where perpetrators are excluded from. Even if partners decide to get back together this may still contravene a bail condition, which may still apply.
Police would also like to highlight that there is support available via the Respect phone-line, if there are certain aspects of someone's behaviour which is giving them cause for concern and feel it may lead them into difficulty. The line is open between 10am and 1pm and 2pm until 5pm Monday to Friday by calling 0808 8024040 and calls are free from landlines and most mobiles.
Although levels of recorded domestic abuse are lower per head of the population in the Highlands and Islands, this does not deter the Force from taking a pro-active approach to dealing with these incidents when they take place.
Anyone detected taking part in this type of behaviour will be dealt with robustly and face the full consequences of the laws available to deal with this wholly unacceptable type of crime.
Northern Constabulary's Violence Reduction Unit co-ordinator, Inspector David Ogilvie, said: "Domestic abuse is arguably at the core of a national culture within which violence is often, unfortunately, seen by many as a behavioural norm. The impact of domestic abuse on individuals victimised either physically or emotionally, often has irreparable consequences.
"The need to dominate or control a partner is rarely a one-off event, with reporting indicating that individuals are frequently subjected to numerous incidents before seeking help and support from the Police or other support networks.
"However, harm also invariably arises through the exposure of children and other family members to instances and events involving such abuse. Whilst risk to the safety of any individual living in or frequenting a household in which domestic abuse is occurring is of critical concern, such exposure also renders individuals within their crucial early years' development, vulnerable to accepting such behaviour as normal and carrying these values into later life."
Too many people allow friends, family, neighbours or colleagues to suffer in silence because they are unaware of an alternative route to provide vital information whilst remaining anonymous.
People can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is an independent charity which takes calls from members of the public about crime.
Crimestoppers chairman for the Highlands and Islands, Jim Ferguson, said: "Domestic abuse is something that can have a devastating impact on families and the wider community and I would encourage all members of the public to report, in complete anonymity, anything that they know in relation to anyone who may be a victim of this type of abuse.
"Domestic abuse often only involves two people and is considered to be private. It is important for people to remember violence is against the law and it is everyone's concern. Helping an abused victim may save their life. No agency alone can combat domestic violence and by working together and building partnerships, combating these crimes will be more of a success."
The campaign has also been backed by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
Area Procurator Fiscal Andrew Laing said: "I fully support the campaign by Northern Constabulary. Domestic abuse and domestic violence, caused by a partner or ex-partner to another, is always seen as a serious matter in Scotland. Research reflects that victims of domestic violence have often suffered numerous violent episodes in silence before reporting the matter to the police. I would encourage victims of domestic violence not to tolerate such behaviour and to report any such unacceptable behaviour to the police.
"Perpetrators of domestic violence will often be arrested by the police and held in police custody and being brought before a sheriff on the next court day. Where a person accused of domestic violence pleads not guilty to the offence they will be remanded in custody or placed on bail conditions offering protection to the complainer.
Public prosecutors will continue to work with the police to protect women and children from the corrosive effects of domestic abuse and domestic violence."
And Moira Paton, Head of Community & Health Improvement Planning for NHS Highland and Chair of the Highland Violence Against Women Strategy Group said: "All the partners working together to tackle domestic abuse in Highland welcome this campaign by the police. We are currently working to address domestic abuse in a number of ways across our organisations and are specifically focusing on perpetrators of abuse.
"New approaches include multi-agency working to increase the safety of those affected by domestic abuse and court mandated programmes for domestic abuse offenders. We are also keen to involve the community to raise awareness of domestic abuse and to take a stand against it. As the police campaign continues, we look forward to the involvement of the public in supporting this."
The Force is also supporting the awareness raising work being carried out by White Ribbon Scotland, an organisation which targets men and asks them to take a stand against domestic abuse by signing its online petition.