‘Making a difference in people’s lives’: 1000 domestic abuse reports made via video tool
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More than 1,000 reports from victims were taken over video call by specially-trained since March 2023, providing stronger evidence for cases of domestic abuse.
The process, called Rapid Video Response (RVR), is a victim-focused investigative tool which provides another way for domestic abuse victims to report an incident – without having to come to a police station or have officers visit their home in a marked police car.
Victims supported by the team have said they appreciated having someone to speak to so quickly, not being rushed on the call, and having the option to speak at home without attending a police station, which can often feel intimidating.
One person who reported their incident through RVR said:
“If it hadn’t been for this service, I may not have had the confidence and courage to say what I wanted to as I was reporting historic abuse and it had taken me a long time to speak to anyone. “Because I was spoken to so quickly and it was dealt with all in the same day, I felt confident and listened to.”
How does RVR work?
Call handlers first make sure a victim is safe to engage with the RVR Team via video call and that no suspect is present at their property.
Then, the RVR co-ordinator checks they are able to carry out the call via a link that can be sent to the caller’s device.
Through the link, victims will speak to a specialist member of the RVR Team who can:
take the victim’s account of the incident;
provide safeguarding advice or make safeguarding referrals;
remotely collect evidence such as screenshots or photos of injuries; and
create an investigation using the information collected.
This process means there is an officer in contact with a caller from start to finish, and evidence can be collected as quickly as possible after an incident.
The faster we can gather evidence, the stronger it is when used to prosecute suspects of domestic abuse.
‘You will have our undivided attention’
Sergeant Robb Gifford of the RVR Team said:
“The service we offer in the team is focused on supporting victims of domestic abuse in their time of need. “We have a team of police officers that are dedicated to dealing with domestic abuse incidents and have been trained to provide appropriate support and advice. “Victims opting to use this service can be put through to a police officer on our team immediately and from the comfort of their own home or place of safety through a video consultation. “The process is easy to navigate, does not require the victim to install any apps or software, and they will have the undivided attention of an officer who is there to listen, support and record any details required."
Synergy Essex provides support and guidance for survivors of sexual and sexual abuse across Essex.
The Essex Rape Crisis Partnership is formed of three organisations:
CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse) who cover mid and north Essex.
SERICC (Rape and Sexual Abuse Specialist Service) who cover South and West Essex.
SOS Rape Crisis who cover Southend, Castle Point and Rochford.
Survivors can self-refer and receive emotional support, specialist sexual violence and abuse counselling and or specialist advocacy services, no matter when the sexual violence or abuse occurred. In addition to this, they also offer support to survivor’s loved ones.