Sharing the FAQs from our Domestic Abuse Live Q&As
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It’s day eight of the 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, and as our next Domestic Abuse Live Q&A Session is tomorrow, we're sharing some of our most frequently asked questions.
The sessions started back in May as officers took steps to reach people who would have been staying home during the first Coronavirus lockdown period.
They were joined by our partners at The Elm Foundation, and the events have been so successful that they have continued monthly, except for the most recent lockdown when they were stepped up to weekly.
Around 10-20 people log in during each two-hour period, and several questions tend to be asked. The questions can be asked anonymously or privately. They are answered by specialist officers from our Domestic Abuse Unit, and support officers from The Elm Foundation.
Here five of the most commonly asked questions and our answers:
- How do you find out if you are entitled to legal aid or you can’t afford to take legal action?
A solicitor can assess if you are entitled to legal aid, which is means tested and the solicitor will make the necessary calculation and applications for you. Domestic abuse support services can support victims to apply for legal protection orders, provide supporting letters to enable you to access legal aid and support you to access a solicitor and through the court process. Alternatively, victims can contact the DV Assist helpline which is a registered charity that supports victims to apply for non-molestation orders, occupation orders and prohibited steps orders. To contact them call 0800 195 8699 or visit https://www.dvassist.org.uk. Another website which has advice on finding free or affordable legal help would be Citizens Advice: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/legal-system/finding-free-or-affordable-legal-help/
- I’m worried about my boyfriend and I think he’s been in trouble in the past. What can I do?
If you are concerned about the history of your partner or ex-partner (or the partner/ex-partner of a friend or family member) then you can apply to the police through a Claire’s Law application (the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme). You can apply over the phone by calling 101, or through the Derbyshire police website, www.derbyshire.police.uk. An assessment will then be undertaken and if there are relevant convictions then a disclosure may be made.
- What will happen to my children if I report my partner?
It is important to report domestic abuse whether to the police, domestic abuse support services or other professionals. Children can be affected by domestic abuse even if they do not physically witness it. We will also contact children’s social care so that they are aware of the circumstances. There is no guarantee that any action will be taken but the first priority of social care is to safeguard the child. They always use the lowest, yet most appropriate, level of intervention depending on the circumstances. There are several organisations locally that provide one to one support to children who have been affected by domestic abuse. They can access art therapy or a safe space to explore their wishes and feelings. If you feel that your children may benefit from this you can call 08000 198 668 to refer them.
- I think my friend/relative is suffering from domestic abuse. How can I help them to leave or what should I do?
Leaving an abusive relationship is a difficult process. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, they may feel frightened and uncertain about the future, they could also feel ashamed and reluctant to tell or seek help, and even not know what support is available. They may feel isolated from family and friends and feel they have no one to turn to. Emotional abuse in particular is often long lasting and difficult to recognise. If your friend wants support they can access our helpline anonymously for emotional support and safety advice. You may want to raise the issue in general discussion and offer support if they decide to leave. You could also refer them to the services that are available to support victims, in particular the Domestic Abuse helpline 08000 198 668 and the Derby City helpline – 0800 085 3481. There is no pressure to disclose any personal details. There are many options available to your friend including counselling and community outreach support. The most important thing you can do is to be there for them and to encourage them to access support through a helpline, the police or a GP. You can also report to the police on your friend’s behalf through 101, on social media or online through the Derbyshire police website, www.derbyshire.police.uk.
- What support services are there for victims of domestic abuse?
The support services that are available include counselling, refuges, a key worker to support you regularly, and emotional support via the helplines. All of these services are available to both women and men. The police can also offer support should you need it. You can access support by calling the Derbyshire Domestic Abuse helpline 08000 198 668 or the Derby City helpline – 0800 085 3481.There is the Freedom Programme which is a women’s only programme. This programme focusses on learning about the tactics and recognising the abusive behaviours a perpetrator may use. There are also programmes such as the power to change programme which looks at moving on after an abusive relationship. Other services include therapeutic interventions such as art therapy, mindfulness, meditation and coffee mornings. Not all of these services are available all the time and in all parts of Derbyshire. Due to the current situation we are piloting some of these services virtually. If you would like to be referred, or would like more information about the services available in your area you can call the Derbyshire Domestic Abuse Helpline on 08000 198 668.
In the meantime, if you have any concerns about Domestic Abuse, you can contact us in the following ways:
- Facebook – send us a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary
- Twitter – direct message our contact centre on @DerPolContact
- Website – complete the online contact form www.derbyshire.police.uk/Contact-Us.
- Phone – call us on 101.