Domestic abuse happens somewhere every day of the year and can often leave people feeling alone, trapped or silenced, especially as we continue to have reduced contact with others and spend more time at home.
Lockdown and ongoing restrictions hasn’t changed our focus on domestic abuse - it is still a priority and if you are suffering from domestic abuse we urge you to call us or speak to an officer. Please put your trust in us – there is hope after abuse and taking the steps to report it will get you closer to a safer, brighter future.
Making the decision to report abuse and violence
Reporting domestic abuse can be incredibly difficult for so many reasons, and we understand the complexities that make it hard to come forward. Telling someone is the first step to keeping you, and your family, safe. It takes a huge amount of courage but you are not alone – our extensively trained staff and officers are here to keep you safe.
When you contact us in relation to domestic abuse we will carry out an initial assessment of the circumstances. We may come to you immediately as an emergency response or as a prompt response at your home address.
For lower risk incidents, we may:
Ask you to come to a police station, which is a safe place away from your home.
Arrange the best time and location to come and see you.
Arrange for you to meet us online for a video appointment. The video appointment system is simple to use, completely secure and extremely difficult to detect by perpetrators.
When we see you
We will listen to you without judgement and document what you have to say.
We will complete a risk assessment. The information you provide us will give us a better understanding of what's going on and what we can do to support you to remove the harm that the abuser is inflicting.
If you are reporting a crime, we will record it and you will be given the reference number.
If the matter does not amount to a crime we will still record all the details on our systems, along with the risk assessment. The report remains with us for a number of years, which will help to get you the right support if you need to contact us again.
Protective measures we can put in place
Clare’s Law: The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS)
If you are worried that your partner has had an abusive past, you can make an application to find out under Clare’s Law. For more details, please visit the Clare’s Law page, phone 101, visit a police station or speak to any officer.
If a domestic abuse perpetrator is released from custody without Charge or bail conditions, they may be issued with a DVPN. The DVPN will include conditions to give you immediate protection from your abusive partner, such as preventing them from molesting you, contacting you, or removing them from your address.
An application is then made to the courts for a DVPO – a protection order which lasts up to 28 days and will include conditions set by the court. The conditions will vary depending on your circumstances, but will be designed to offer you safe breathing space, away from your abusive partner, to consider your options with the help of a support agency. Officers will ask your views if they are considering applying for a DVPN and DVPO.
If there is an allegation of a criminal offence we will conduct an investigation and take positive steps to deal with it. In many cases, we will make an arrest and the perpetrator will be taken to police custody where they will remain while we complete our investigation. We will always listen and take your views seriously and consider the impact it may have when making the decision. We may choose to arrest and prosecute even without your support if we feel it's the safest way to protect you from further abuse - your safety comes first.
As part of the investigation we will ask you to provide evidence, most likely in the form of an account. This is your choice and we can help support you in making your decision.
This is a written legal document which forms part of our investigation and can be used in a court of law as part of a trial. It is your account of what happened.
Depending on the circumstances you may be asked to provide your account via video in a more informal setting. Your account of what happened is one of the strongest forms of evidence we can use, along with anything that may confirm what you have told us e.g. photographs, mobile phone video or audio recording, threatening text messages or abusive mail. When we have gathered sufficient evidence we will present it to a representative of the Crown Prosecution Service. They will make the decision on whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a prosecution.
Whether there is a crime or not, your safety comes first, and we are here to offer support and advice to help protect you. You can be referred to an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) who will support you in this journey through the criminal justice system. There are many independent specialist support services you can contact, or we can contact on your behalf, who can offer advice on all forms of abuse, getting an injunction, dealing with child custody issues, property issues or finding a refuge. If there are children present we will be able to make referrals to other agencies to make sure you are all safe and supported.
These organisations can help you in recovering from your experiences and help you rebuild your life.
We are taking this opportunity to reach out to ALL victims of domestic abuse and pledge that if you are in a relationship where physical and psychological abuse may be happening, if you are feeling isolated, intimidated or manipulated by your partner - we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days per week - we will listen to you, we will take your situation seriously and we will leave you safer than before you called us.