Improvements to domestic violence services in Dorset

DORSET Police have launched three new operations to improve domestic violence services across the county.

The new services aim to o transform the way they respond to and support victims of domestic violence following an increase in reporting during nationwide closures.

In Dorset there was a 25% increase in domestic violence incidents compared to the previous year – there were 9,124 incidents in 2020/2021 compared to 7,289 in 2019/2020.

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In response, Dorset Police launched an opportunity to prioritize improvements to the way they respond to domestic violence and introduced three new programs to deliver better results for all those affected by such violence.

Chief Inspector Julie Howe, Head of Force Vulnerability Program at Dorset Police said: ‘Dorset Police are committed to providing exceptional service to victims of domestic violence across the county.

“Over the past 18 months, we have taken the time to understand the impact of this abuse on the lives of victims and their families and we have ensured that our services put the voice of the victim at the heart of everything. we do.

SafeLives, a UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic violence, worked closely with Dorset Police to help them understand their strengths and areas for improvement. As a result, the Force adopted the Domestic Abuse Matters training program, which is currently being delivered to 750 frontline officers and staff.

It covers a range of topics, including coercive control, victim blaming and manipulative techniques used by perpetrators of domestic violence, and provides first responders with the tools they need to better support victims.

In addition, the DRIVE for Offenders Program was launched in March 2021 as a partnership between Dorset Police, Police and Crime Bureau, Dorset Council, BCP Council and Public Health Dorset, the first six months being funded by the Home Office. DRIVE works with high risk, high risk and serial offenders to challenge and support changes in their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors, and appropriately address all areas of vulnerability.

A multi-agency panel brings together representatives from relevant agencies, including police, adult and children’s social services, housing and health, to provide an overview of cases and refer appropriate cases to the program.

DRIVE, which is issued by the Hampton Trust, aims to change the narrative around domestic violence and stop asking victims why they haven’t left and start asking perpetrators why they haven’t stopped.

Tracey Kent, Deputy Managing Director of Hampton Trust, said: “With our extensive experience in author engagement, we are delighted to be working in partnership with Dorset Police, SafeLives and several frontline and localized agencies to deliver our second DRIVE pilot, having delivered the first pilot to West Sussex.

“To truly address the root cause of domestic violence, we have a responsibility to hold those responsible for the violence accountable for breaking the cycle of harmful behavior and protecting our future generations.”

Dorset Police also introduced Operation Encompass in early 2021, which is a way to share information between the Force and schools in the county where there have been cases of domestic violence involving a child. It allows the police to transmit relevant information to the school the child attends so that the right support can be put in place.

Children exposed to domestic violence are among the most vulnerable in our society and are often physically, emotionally and psychologically injured by domestic violence. Dorset Police follow this national model of information sharing to improve protection and lessen the damage it can have on children’s lives.

Chief Inspector Julie Howe continued: “We know that domestic violence devastates lives, and this is by no means the end of our journey. Dorset Police has a culture of continuous improvement and we always strive to do better.

“We will continue to work to provide the exceptional service our communities expect and deserve. ”

David Sidwick, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, said: ‘I am committed to ensuring that victims are at the heart of the new Dorset Police and Crime Plan that I am developing, and that includes victims of domestic violence, a toxic and destructive crime that unfortunately too often remains hidden.

“I am happy to see the introduction of programs such as the DRIVE program in Dorset, but I know that much more can and must be done to help these victims.

“I will be working closely with the Force and other agencies over the coming months and years to see what other innovations can be introduced and to ensure that those experiencing domestic violence receive the best possible support.”

Anyone affected by domestic violence can get support from Dorset Police by calling 101 or by using our online reporting tools: www.dorset.police.uk/do-it-online/

In an emergency, always call 999.


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