View Full Version : Police aim to reduce domestic abuse

03-Dec-12, 16:43
Multi-agency partnership to tackle Highland-wide problem as a top priority

Northern Constabulary and multi-agency partners today highlighted the importance of collaborative working in a bid to reduce domestic abuse across the Highlands and Islands.
The Force regards domestic abuse as a priority. One part of the Force's strategy in addressing domestic violence has been to review domestic abuse incidents involving repeat offenders, which involves careful monitoring of all reports which arise from incidents of alleged domestic abuse.
Police work closely with a number of partners to look at ways of reducing domestic abuse incidents across the Highlands and Islands, including Highland Council Health and Social Care, NHS Highland, Victim Support, Women's Aid groups, Violence Against Women groups and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
The main aims of this awareness raising campaign are to raise awareness of domestic abuse across the Highlands and Islands, establish effective practices and partnerships in protecting victims from abuse and to tackle the high number of repeat domestic abuse offenders.
Inspector Eddie Ross of the Force's Public Protection Unit was joined at the launch at Police HQ in Inverness today by representatives from Highland Council, NHS Highland, Inverness Women's Aid and Ross-shire Women's Aid.
Inspector Ross said: "Working closely with our partners is critical as Domestic Abuse not only affects adults but children as well. Children should not be subjected to any form of violence or abuse, nor should they ever have to witness it within their own home."
He added: "Domestic Abuse is a priority and any abuser will be dealt with robustly and face the consequences of their actions and the full effect of the law. We will also target repeat offenders in order to protect victims."
Fiona Palin from Health and Social Care at Highland Council said: "The impact of domestic violence on children in the household is frequently devastating and is long lasting.
"This 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.
Unlike most families at this time of year, the festive period brings additional fears and anxieties for those adults and children who live with domestic abuse. Rarely are such incidents one offs, with many women reporting a sustained pattern of abuse over many years. Scottish Women’s Aid figures indicate that 1 in 5 women experience domestic abuse and in Scotland this also involves 100,000 children, 9 out of 10 of which are in the same or next room during incidents.
Catherine Russell, Manager of Inverness Women's Aid said: "All the Women's Aid organisations within the Highlands are particularly busy supporting an increased amount of calls for help and support as the additional family pressures during the festive period impacts on already abusive situations.
"Working closely with other agencies such as the police and housing, Women's Aid aims to improve the response to women in these situations to quickly improve their safety and support them to make sustainable changes to their lives. We provide both emotional and practical support to meet the individual needs of each woman who contacts us, whether they are just exploring options through to those that need urgent action.
"The majority of the women who the Highlands Women's Aid groups support live out in the community, but we are also able to offer modern and safe accommodation for those that need it."
Ross-shire Women's Aid Manager, Heather Williams added that: "It is a particularly difficult time of year for children and young people and in Women's Aid we have dedicated workers who not only fully understand the impact of domestic abuse on children and young people, but who have been professionally trained to respond to a wide variety of needs."
Heather explained: "Not only do we provide support to children but we have had increasing calls for help from teenagers who are also experiencing abuse in their relationships.
"If you want to talk to someone or you need urgent help, just call your local Women’s Aid group. There is no commitment and your call will be treated with respect and in confidence."
Although levels of recorded domestic abuse are lower per head of the population in the Highlands and Islands, it is understood to be an under-reported crime. There are also a growing number of men who suffer abuse from partners, however the reality is that the over whelming majority of victims are women.
Too many people allow friends, family, neighbours or colleagues to suffer in silence because they are unaware of support available or ways to provide information, whilst remaining anonymous.
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