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 Working together to improve service for victims of domestic abuse

 17/11/2020

​Specialist officers tackling domestic abuse across the North East are working together to enhance and improve service to victims.


A pilot scheme starting this month will see applications for Domestic Violence Prevention Orders (DVPOs) from Cleveland Police, Durham Constabulary and Northumbria Police being heard in a single designated court in the region.


This means local courts will no longer deal with them, reducing their heavy workload, and the application can be 100% remote - with no one being required to attend a court building.


Cleveland Police’s Domestic Violence Prevention Notice Officer, PC Neil Lamb said: “This should allow police and the courts to manage resources more efficiently.


“Dedicated officers from all three forces will also be able to pool knowledge and share experiences and expertise more easily - which can only benefit victims.


“Our officers are trained to identify circumstances where we could apply for a DVPO for example when a victim needs immediate safeguarding.  It means a perpetrator cannot return to an address or have contact with the victim for up to 28 days and this can allow the victim time to consider their options. It will also allow more time for our partner agencies to work with victims and offer a wide range of support.


“We encourage victims to seek specialist support from local organisations such as Harbour, Eva, My Sister’s Place, Foundation and Halo.


“Cleveland Police has been working hard on improving how we use the tools available to us and be more effective with how we safeguard victims of domestic violence, this joint venture is a big step to show that police forces will join together to tackle a joint concern.”


Detective Constable Kezi Smith, from Durham Constabulary’s safeguarding team, added: “The DVPO is an extremely useful tool to assist in making a positive difference to domestic abuse victims and their families.


“If you are an abuser, or someone enduring abuse, this is a very important message: lockdown will not stop us from removing an abusive person from their home. We will continue to use these proactive orders in order to keep people safe.”


And Chief Superintendent Deborah Alderson of Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding department said: “This pilot will allow neighbouring Forces to work together closely and will hopefully improve victim experience by eliminating the need for them to attend court.


“Northumbria Police have prioritised service of DVPNs during lockdown in order to ensure victims and children are safeguarded and have increased our use of them in our Force area by 44 per cent from pre-lockdown conditions.”


Local services are available in all three force areas (see their websites or use a search engine for details)  You can also visit the national Domestic Abuse Helpline at www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk or call 0808 200 0247 or Women’s Aid at https://www.womensaid.org.uk