Domestic Abuse – New training for officers and staff to help support victims and bring abusers to justice
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Domestic abuse is one of the largest, most complex and biggest risk areas that police forces have to deal with.
Across the UK more than two million adults will experience domestic abuse every year – with 173 people killed as a result of domestic violence last year.
Derbyshire Constabulary takes incidents of domestic abuse extremely seriously. A specialist Public Protection Unit deals with the investigation of serious domestic abuse, however, it is likely that all officers and frontline staff will come into contact with victims, and perpetrators, of domestic abuse.
It is absolutely crucial that officers and staff understand the complexities of dealing with domestic abuse, how to spot the early signs and understand the tactics used by perpetrators.
In order to help staff provide the best service to victims Derbyshire Constabulary has invested in a domestic abuse training package for officers and staff.
What is the Domestic Abuse Matters training?
Run by specialist domestic abuse charity SafeLives - and commissioned by the College of Policing – the DA Matters training stemmed from the 2014 HMIC report, Everyone's business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse, that highlighted the need for improvements in how police forces and officers understand and respond abuse.
However, DA Matters is much more than a training course - it is a cultural change programme designed to create long term, sustainable improvements and consistency in the response to domestic abuse across the country. It helps police understand what is meant by the term coercive control, challenges victim blaming, and prompts them to recognise the high levels of manipulation used by those perpetrating it, including in interactions with law enforcement.
The one-day interactive package uses real-life footage, case studies and exercises so that first responders can learn how to identify and gather evidence of coercive controlling behaviour, recognise perpetrator tactics and understand the dynamics of domestic abuse.
Officers and staff learnt how to demonstrate empathy with victims and work with them to increase their safety and that of their children. The training also covers responding to vulnerable people, honour based violence, child protection and adult abuse as well as how to deal robustly with perpetrators whilst holding them to account.
Detective Chief Inspector Brian Bilby, who leads on Domestic Abuse in Derbyshire Constabulary, said: “The DA Matters training has been nothing short of excellent.
“The way in which officers have really engaged with the program has been fantastic and is testament to the way in which the training is set up.
“Over the coming months further frontline staff will take part in the training and I am sure they will get as much out of it as the first group of officers and staff.
“Ensuring that everyone in the organisation is able to give the proper support to victims from their very first contact is absolutely essential.
“For the victim it ensures that they are able to give full details of what has happened to them – meaning officers are given the full picture of offending and can put in safeguarding based on what has happened.
“Knowing that they are being supported, and seeing that support in action, also means that victims are less likely to withdraw support – potentially meaning that an investigation may more difficult to prosecute.
“Domestic abuse training is not just for law enforcement though, everyone has a role to play in knowing the signs of domestic abuse and knowing the steps they can take to help support victims and bring the abusers to justice.”
Melani Morgan, the SafeLives DA Matters Lead, said: “It has been a pleasure working with Derbyshire Constabulary to jointly deliver the DA Matters change programme to the service.
“The police service leads in Derbyshire have been fully committed to the programme and the officers and staff who have taken part in the training elements have been some of the most open to learning and dedicated we have seen in the 19 police services we have delivered the programme in.
“Their commitment to deliver the best service to victims of domestic abuse and their children has been amazing.
“We are looking forward to Derbyshire Constabulary being part of the network of Safelives DA Matters adopter police services we support.”
How can I find out more?
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or you are concerned for a friend, relative or colleague, then you can find out more about support in Derbyshire, as well as across the UK, here:
How to keep internet activity secret
An element of domestic abuse may include the abuser checking your phone or computer.
If you are accessing support websites then this is best done on a computer that the abuser does not have access to, at work or a local library for instance.
However, if this is not possible then you can find out how to how to keep you internet activity secret and how to delete websites and searches from your computer here: https://www.reducingtherisk.org.uk/cms/content/internet-safety