Fewer domestic abuse cases and improvements in protecting victims
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“We’re seeing fewer cases and fewer repeat victims – and we’re doing a better job at protecting them” - that’s from a senior detective in charge of tackling domestic abuse.
Reports of domestic abuse in Essex have fallen in the last 12 months, with nearly 4,500 fewer offences, and the number of repeat victims has also fallen.
During that time we have also made improvements to how we respond to domestic abuse incidents, protect and support victims, manage offenders.
Detective Superintendent Matt Cornish, the force’s lead for Domestic Abuse, said: “In January 2023 we undertook a major review of our response to domestic abuse in Essex with an aim of implementing the College of Policing-approved Domestic Abuse Risk Assessment (DARA), and continue to improve our response to DA victims and the management of DA perpetrators.
“As a part of this project, we updated our approach to Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) disclosures; ensuring adherence to the new Home Office guidance, seeking to improve both the number of disclosures made and enhancing the content of those disclosures.
“This ensures we are now reaching even more potential victims of DA and giving them the information, they needed to make an informed decision.
“Our work around the DVDS aspect is backed by research led by Essex University’s Dr Kat Hadjimatheou, who also sits on the national DVDS working group.
“We recognised we needed to do more to support victims and potential victims of domestic abuse through the DVDS.
“Now, we have a specialist Domestic Abuse Review Team (DART) of more than 20 officers focusing on these disclosures.”
"More disclosures than ever before"
Det Sup Cornish added: “We are making more disclosures and sharing more information than ever before.
“Following the implementation of our DART Team from 1 August to 31 December (2023), Essex Police made 264 disclosures, which is 65.7% of all processed applications in that time. These figures are not in the ONS statistics as they have not yet been published.
“We share information where someone has spent or unspent convictions, whether allegations have been made or whether we have gathered any intelligence reports that suggest they may be at risk of domestic abuse.
“This team is also taking an increasingly proactive approach for our ‘Right to Know’ applications, regularly reviewing any medium and high-risk suspects of domestic abuse to ensure we are sharing information about them with the right people.
“We are using the full capability of the Home Office’s legislation for Clare’s Law to keep the people of Essex as safe as we can.
“We would encourage anyone with concerns, either on behalf of themselves, or a friend or family member, to make contact via the (Request information under Clare's Law: Make a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) application | Essex Police) where your application will be considered.
“The work of teams like this are driving down the number of incidents of domestic abuse, which is reducing in Essex.”
We have specialist teams working to prevent offending and re-offending
Officers in our Proactive Order Enforcement Team are dedicated to managing the highest of harm offenders in Essex and monitor offender activity to prevent them reoffending, and to detain them if they do.
Our Domestic Abuse Problem Solving Team (DAPST) is also targeting those identified as high-risk or potentially high-risk domestic abuse perpetrators and breaking their cycle of behaviour. DAPST identify and address safeguarding risks to associated victims, alongside identifying opportunities to target, disrupt and prosecute offenders.
We have also formed a new Rapid Video Response (RVR) Team that are on hand to help capture the best evidence as quickly as possible from those contacting the emergency services to report domestic abuse. The team took more than 1,000 reports in its first six months after forming in March 2023, allowing us to make stronger cases for prosecution.
If you enter a relationship with someone new and start to feel a little unsure about the situation, there are steps you can take.
Clare's Law gives any member of the public the right to ask the police if their partner may pose a risk to them.
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