Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles is appealing for vulnerable victims of domestic abuse to seek help and protection from the police this Christmas – not suffer in silence.
His plea comes as new figures show more than 100 people have been saved from a potentially abusive relationship in the county under Clare’s Law since the legislation was introduced in March 2014. The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme enables men and women to request information on the history of a partner to protect them from a potentially abusive relationship.
Domestic violence typically spikes during the festive and New Year period however many victims are too afraid to report their experiences to police.
Commissioner Charles said it was now easier than ever to access help to escape a violent or abusive partner and safeguard family members or to avoid an abusive relationship altogether.
Earlier this month, he launched a multiagency website called CORE enabling victims to report DV and other crimes to police online. It also educates people on what constitutes abusive behaviour and signposts them to a host of local and national support services delivering specialist, emotional and practical help.
Victims of domestic abuse are not only able to report their experiences in a way that feels comfortable and safer for them through the website they are also immediately connected to a wealth of helpful resources advising them how to rebuild their lives.
Mr Charles said: “Stress and forced family situations can make the festive period, for some, a frightening and distressing time. There is never an excuse for abuse and it’s vital we reassure victims that they don’t have to accept violent or abusive behaviour, whatever time of year it is - there is help available.
“Domestic violence remains a historically under-reported crime and I’m determined to change that by increasing confidence among victims that coming forward is the safest way forward. If you’re a victim of domestic violence this Christmas or at any other time of the year, you can be assured that Derbyshire Police will listen to you, in confidence, take whatever action is necessary to protect you and your family and ensure robust action is taken against your abuser to prevent further harm.
“Research shows a victim will suffer an average of 35 physical assaults before seeking help from the police. It is very difficult for officers to intervene when a problem remains invisible. We need victims to report their experiences to ensure the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice and that other women are protected in future.
“Clare’s Law is a way of protecting those at risk before violence ever takes place. The legislation is another string in the police’s bow and I’m pleased so many people have benefitted from the scheme in Derbyshire and beyond.”
A total of 24 of those benefitting from the disclosure scheme in Derbyshire were provided with information on a ‘right to ask’ basis which refers to a situation in which a member of the public requests information from the police.
The remaining number (77) was advised on a ‘right to know’ basis which refers to a situation in which the police receives information suggesting an individual could be at risk.
Clare’s Law is named after 36-year-old Clare Wood who was murdered by her estranged partner in 2009. By the time of her death, she had suffered months of sexual abuse and death threats before being strangled by George Appleton, who had a history of violence against women.
To make a request for information under the Disclosure Scheme, contact Derbyshire Police on 101. If you are experiencing domestic abuse or are worried about a friend or a member of your family, visit http://www.derbyshire.police.uk/Safety-advice/Personal-Safety/Domestic-Violence/Domestic-Violence.aspx
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Tuesday 22nd December 2015