Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles today (Tuesday) reiterated his commitment to increasing support for survivors of domestic abuse by backing a week-long awareness campaign.
The Association of Chief Police Officer’s (ACPO) domestic abuse awareness week coincides with the launch of Claire’s Law – a new disclosure scheme which allows people to check the police record of their partners. The new legislation is one of a series of recent national changes designed to help protect vulnerable people, particularly women, who find themselves in an abusive relationship and allow police to take a harder line on the perpetrators. Other measures include the creation of a new law making domestic violence and coercive control a crime in its own right.
Commissioner Charles is determined to expand the support available to victims of domestic abuse in Derbyshire and has already taken steps to prioritise their needs, providing funding to various support groups such as High Peak Women’s Aid and First Steps. He is also working closely with Independent Domestic Violence Advocates, partners and stakeholders to streamline services and integrate management processes in preparation for October when he takes up responsibility for Victims and Witnesses services.
The Derbyshire PCC is at the forefront of efforts to tackle intimate relationship violence and oppression. He is hosting a national conference on the Criminalisation of Forced Marriage on May 6, led by Derbyshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa, which looks closely at the forthcoming legislative change in May that makes Forced Marriage a criminal offence. The PCC and his Deputy are also proactively working to raise awareness of Female Genital Mutilation within Derbyshire.
Commissioner Charles said: “The awareness week reiterates just how important it is that we safeguard vulnerable men and women whose relationships are putting them at serious risk of harm. New laws are making it easier for people to protect themselves and steer clear of a potentially abusive partner but they are also giving the police more power to intervene when things go too far.
“Domestic violence is still a hidden crime but that has to change. Victims need to feel that their reports are being treated seriously and that they will receive the help they need to heal and recover from their experiences. This will increase confidence and encourage more sufferers to come forward to report their abuse.
“While the new laws give police officers greater powers in apprehending offenders, I’m very conscious that early prevention work to promote healthy relationships and build self-esteem is the long-term solution. I’m very grateful to our partners working in the community who play such an important role in this recovery process. Their intervention is helping to break a cycle of relationship violence and give victims hope of a better future.”
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Tuesday 4th March 2014