Police urge domestic abuse victims in Hemel Hempstead not to suffer in silence
Help for domestic abuse victims continues post-lockdown
Police in Hertfordshire are ready for an increase in the numbers of reports of domestic abuse, should they come as pandemic restrictions ease.
While the force and its partners have worked to reach victims during lockdowns, there may still be some who have waited to reach out until now. For those people the message is simple, police and other support services are here to help.
Detective Chief Inspector Ben Wright, head of the constabulary’s Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit, said: “There may be an increase in reports as lockdown restrictions ease and victims who previously found it difficult to report or access services are now more able to do so.
"After previous lockdowns eased we did not see huge spikes in reports, however should it happen this time, we are ready.”
Domestic abuse reports have decreased by three per cent for the year to date, compared to the same period last year. However, the number of offenders being put before courts has increased - up nearly six per cent, year to date.
Throughout the lockdowns the force has helped protect domestic abuse victims and their families with additional safeguarding measures, accessing refuges or obtaining protection orders against perpetrators.
The force has conducted investigations without relying on evidence from the victim by using evidence from officers’ body worn video camera footage, for example.
In February, the force achieved a Stalking Protection Order against a man without needing the support of the victim, making it the first order obtained like this in the country.
The Beacon Safeguarding Hub offers further practical help and advice and has supported 3,000 victims since its launch last May.
The force recently teamed up with the Domestic Abuse Alliance and have been using their specialist legal ‘We Protect’ app to advise victims.
Through the Domestic Abuse Partnership, the force also works with Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) and Independent Stalking Advocacy Specialist (ISAS) to provide victims with further support.
DCI Wright said: “We have been able to protect hundreds of victims experiencing domestic abuse during the lockdowns. This remains our top priority.
"My officers understand what victims may be experiencing, they deal with investigations sensitively and provide help and support whatever the circumstances.
“The partnership approach to tackling domestic abuse in Hertfordshire means we are better able to safeguard victims and hold perpetrators to account. Remember, if home isn’t safe, we are here to help.”
Anyone with concerns about their partner can contact the Independent Domestic Abuse Advisor services by calling 0300 790 6772. In an emergency, always call 999.
If you are afraid or unable to speak, call 999 from a mobile and press 5, 5. Help and support is also available from the Sunflower Centre.