Domestic abuse is a problem in every county and in Essex we recognise that it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Which is why we work with a range of different services and organisations to help tackle this crime together.
We have several teams dedicated to getting the help to those who need it, from our Rapid Video Response (RVR) which provides an alternative way for domestic abuse victims to report an incident.
Our Domestic Abuse Problem Solving Teams who are crucial in helping to break the cycle of abuse. Their work focuses on repeat offenders and supporting victims in each area of the county.
As well as our Multi Agency Risk Assessment Team (MARAT). A team of specialised officers and staff who attend multi-agency meetings where cases of high-risk Domestic Violence within Essex are reviewed.
Sergeant Carol Astbury is one of our officers who works in the MARAT team. She has 17 years of experience as an officer with us, which she uses to help protect victims and make sure they have the support they need.
My role of the team is to represent Essex Police and work with different organisations to share knowledge, expertise, and resources so that we can provide the right support to survivors of domestic abuse. These cases have either been reported directly to us or referred by one of our partners.
As well as Essex Police they are made up of representatives from probation services, health services, child protection, housing practitioners, Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) and other specialists from the statutory and voluntary sectors.
Sergeant Astbury went on to say “They are held to ensure all areas of safeguarding have been considered and explored for the victim and their families. Our role is pivotal in these meetings as we are often the link between the Officers in Charge (OIC) of a case and agency’s working directly with the involved parties.
As a Police officer's we use our knowledge to provide advice to the panel on a perpetrator's behaviour that may help identify patterns. This can then be used to make sure those involved get the right support or protection. By working with our partners, we can build the bigger picture, as each if us might hold a piece of crucial information that when pieced together could assist an investigation. Or even help provide our officers with a better understanding as to why someone may be reluctant to speak to them or are difficult to get hold of. “
By working together, we aim to build trust.
“Personally, I always want to be able to ‘fix’ things but sometimes this can be difficult. This can be the most challenging part of my job as ultimately; I just want to help. The police might not always be the right service for someone, but we can still play our part by helping to put connections in place with our partners. That will support or may prevent a victim and their children from being subject to further abuse. Our hope is that by working together we can start building trust and empowering victims to speak out.”
We would also encourage perpetrators to come forward to get the support they need.
If you’re a survivor of abuse looking for community support in your area, please visit the Essex Compass website.
Or if your actions are making your relationships a toxic place to be, it’s time to #reflect on your behaviour and get the help you need. It's not late to make a change visit The Change Project for advice on how to make a difference to you, your family, and your partners in the future.