Supporting victims and survivors of domestic abuse
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As a continuation of White Ribbon Day on 25 November, and as part of the 16 days of action to tackle violence against women that follow, we are raising awareness of different types of violence and how we can help victims.
We know that domestic abuse can impact those of all genders, but sadly women and girls are the victim in an overwhelming amount of cases – in Essex they make up 76% of victims who come forward.
Essex Police is part of the Southend, Essex, and Thurrock domestic abuse partnership – otherwise known as SETDAB – where we pool resources and learning with local council partners and the NHS to safeguard and educate victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse.
Earlier this year, Essex Police introduced our Domestic Abuse Problem Solving Teams to support those who are stuck in the cycle of domestic abuse.
In the 12 months to the end of October 2021, we found that almost 52% of incidents were from repeat victims, and our teams continue to protect them by searching for outstanding offenders, and ensuring that the terms of protection and prevention orders are being complied with.
As well as charging and sentencing abusers, extra protection can come in the form of orders and notices and, where these are breached, offenders can be arrested.
In the past 12 months, our officers have issued 278 Domestic Violence Protection Notices and 247 Domestic Violence Protection Orders. In 2021 alone, we’ve issued 11 stalking protection notices to help victims across the county.
Chief Superintendent Tom Simons is our force lead for domestic abuse, which means he oversees how we respond to these incidents, and implements new policy and procedure to ensure we can better protect victims and record crime.
He said: “We know that abuse can seem like an overwhelming word for victims to relate to. If you’ve become used to a certain pattern of behaviour, even if it’s wrong, it can be difficult to break that cycle and report it. “Domestic abuse can take place between intimate partners or between family members, and it takes many different forms. What you go through at home might not be physical – you might be being controlled in other ways. They may have access to your finances, stop you from seeing your friends and loved ones, harass you, or track your movements outside of the house. “We know it can be incredibly difficult to come forward and start to make a new life for yourself but, whenever you’re ready, we’re here to help you. “Our specially trained detectives are here to support you and there are lots of ways that you can be protected – whether that’s through Domestic Violence Protection Notices, Domestic Violence Protection Orders, or of course, through arresting and charging the abuser. “Tackling domestic abuse is a priority – not just for the safety of individual victims, but for a better society. That’s why, over the past 12 months, we’ve arrested an average of 737 people who are alleged to have committed these heinous acts. “If you’re ever in danger and need to call 999 but it’s not safe for you to speak, you can dial 55 when the phone is connected. Please call us when you need us – we want to protect you and make sure you are living the abuse-free life you deserve. “To find out about support that’s available to you please visit the SETDAB website.”