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Issue:- 02 January 2015

1,773 happy returns at Christmas

SPECIALIST 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 1 of the 6 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 1st."

For more information about how to report domestic violence or to seek specialist support visit:- or call:- 0800 028 3398.

Did you know that the Independent Domestic Violence Advisory Service provides independent and impartial support for all high risk victims/survivors of domestic violence? All staff are trained to CAADA standard to deliver specialist support. The IDVA will work in partnership with other agencies to ensure maximum service delivery to the victim/survivor with the aim of increasing the safety of the individual co-ordinating a multi-agency approach including:-

► Risk Assessment.

► Safety Planning.

► Crisis Intervention.

► Applications for target hardening.

► Practical and emotional support.

► Court support.

► Multi agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) representation.

► Our key outcome is to increase the safety of survivors of domestic violence; and their children.

► The IDVA service is aimed at clients who have been identified as high risk.

► The support is intended to be a short/medium term service in place to reduce the risk of further domestic violence and the emotional effects caused by it.

► A risk assessment needs to be carried out so we can form an appropriate safety plan.

► We can assist with issues arising as a result of domestic violence, such as support through the court process and advocacy with housing issues.

► IDVA's are independent from all agencies to ensure the best possible support and advice is offered to each survivor.

► All clients are treated with respect, dignity and sensitivity. We respect the diversity of the community and work to ensure all survivors have access to the services they need.

► In order to provide the best possible help we may need to share information with other agencies, but this is only on a need to know basis to achieve the best outcome for you.

► IDVA do not take self referrals and clients must be referred though the MARAC referral route with a completed multi agency risk assessment (Merit) and IDVA referral form.

► If your case is referred to a MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference) an IDVA worker will be able to represent you.

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