Police launch domestic-abuse awareness week

Latest from Northumbria Police.
Latest from Northumbria Police.

Police in Northumberland are today launching Walking On Egg Shells – a week of action to help raise awareness of domestic abuse.

The week of action by Northumbria Police and the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner aims to raise awareness about what abuse is, how it can affect people and what police and partners can do to help support victims.

The Force will continue to promote its Are you always walking on egg shells? campaign to encourage people to report abuse. There will also be a specific focus each day throughout the week which will give advice and information about domestic abuse.

Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird will also be launching the Domestic Abuse in the Workplace strategy, which will see some of the North East’s largest organisations sign up to the scheme. Northumbria Police has already signed up to the scheme which helps provide a network of support for employees who may be suffering abuse or have concerns for a colleague.

The drive also coincides with the Association of Police Chief Officers (ACPO) In Focus – domestic abuse, which runs from today until Saturday, March 8.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Gary Calvert is confident the week of action will help encourage those suffering abuse, or anyone with concerns for another person, to take that first step and talk to someone.

T/ACC Calvert said: “This week is about getting people to understand what abuse is, how it can affect people’s lives and what we can do to support victims. It is important we highlight the effective work and commitment of police and partner agencies tackling domestic abuse to give people the confidence and strength to report it. We take all reports of domestic abuse very seriously and I want to reassure any victims out there that you shouldn’t suffer in silence – help is available and you aren’t alone. It is important for people to understand that abuse isn’t necessarily about violence – it can be any sort of emotional control over another person.

“Domestic abuse is a priority for the force and we have been working with the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure we meet the highest of policing standards when dealing with abuse. We have piloted various initiatives to tackle the very sensitive issues around abuse and we will continue to work with the Police and Crime Commissioner and partner agencies to further improve the service and support for our victims.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, a lifelong campaigner on the issue of domestic violence, said: “Domestic abuse and violence can often be a silent crime – a crime which happens, but is not reported to police. This campaign shows how the police take reports of domestic abuse seriously and work in partnership with other organisations.

“Anyone suffering from domestic violence should always seek help from the police. Officers will be sympathetic and helpful and, as well as tackling the policing aspects, will help connect people with local groups and organisations which can give both the support and advice people need. I’d like to assure everyone that the police will pursue criminal justice outcomes if they can, but will not think you are wasting their time if you don’t want to go to court, they do want to help.

“We’ve been piloting with a local women’s organisation having one of their workers going out to calls with officers to ensure victims get practical help as soon as we know they have a problem. We will keep looking and finding new ways of giving people support to make themselves safe and stop the abuse.”

Assistant Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe took on the national policing lead for domestic abuse in 2013 and is using this week to talk about her priorities and plans for 2014 and beyond.

“Improving our response to domestic abuse is a priority for the police,” she said.

“This week, Forces are doing a lot to raise awareness of domestic abuse as well as introducing new schemes that give the police additional powers to protect victims. We still have much to do in ensuring every police officer who responds to an incident understands the nature of abuse – the many forms it can take and how it can isolate the victim – and knows what to look for. We need every officer to use this knowledge to determine how to best protect the victim and progress a thorough investigation and prosecution without increasing their fear.” “My plea to anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse, or who knows someone who is, is to seek help. Report it to the police and talk to the brilliant charities that can provide expert advice and support.”

Anyone wishing to show their support or would like to know more can join in on Twitter using @NorthumbriaPol #walkingoneggshells or search online for ‘police egg shells’.