New approach to tackling domestic abuse in Northamptonshire with more early support for victims

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Aim to prevent behaviour escalating as coronavirus lockdown has seen a seven per cent increase in reports

A team is being set up to take a new approach to tackling domestic abuse in Northamptonshire to help victims at the earliest opportunity.

Police and partner organisations currently prioritise the most serious domestic incidents and those where the risk to the victim is greatest, meaning lower level reports are not dealt with.

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The new domestic violence advisers will be reviewing every domestic incident reported to police to support more victims and prevent behaviour escalating.

Domestic abuse reports have increased during the coronavirus lockdown. Photo: stockDomestic abuse reports have increased during the coronavirus lockdown. Photo: stock
Domestic abuse reports have increased during the coronavirus lockdown. Photo: stock | jpimedia

Northamptonshire Police adult safeguarding lead Detective Andy Glenn said: “Tackling domestic abuse is a priority for the force.

"This new team will help ensure we share information with our partners quickly, are able to assess risk more effectively and take action before the abuse escalates further.

“This will mean we are able to respond rapidly and offer early support for affected families and identify any child safeguarding issues so children are also better protected.

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"I am delighted we will be able to offer an improved service to the people of Northamptonshire and firmly believe the new team will mean more people are made safer at the earliest opportunity.”

With domestic abuse and violence making up 15 per cent of all the crime in the county (9,160 incidents last year), there has previously no capacity to look in detail at the lowest level of incidents.

This means that the opportunity to intervene at an early stage and prevent behaviour from worsening is lost.

The new team of trained advisers will be embedded with police specialists and other partners in the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub to help with lower-level crimes.

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The new team will also increase the resources available to deal with any increase in domestic incidents as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown – where an increase of seven per cent has already been recorded.

This approach has operated as a trial in Northamptonshire for the past three months and was found to help agencies identify issues and tackle them at an early stage.

Recruitment is underway to create seven posts, which is being established and funded by Northamptonshire police, fire and crime commissioner Stephen Mold.

“Domestic abuse and sexual violence are a significant issue for Northamptonshire and take a terrible toll on families in this county," he said.

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"We know that that there has been a gap in the service available to support people after less serious incidents and I am pleased that I have been able to provide a solution to that.

“Anything we can do to improve the response to victims of domestic incidents and to intervene early to stop crime from happening will make a real difference to the safety of Northamptonshire.”

The new initiative is one of a significant package of measures that has been introduced to tackle domestic abuse in Northamptonshire, including funding for a pilot project – Project Pipa.

This scheme means offenders in certain domestic abuse incidents are given a conditional caution if they agree to take part in a programme that helps them gain an insight into their behaviour and reduce the likelihood that they will reoffend.

Also Northamptonshire Police has been given funding to run an intensive programme to manage high risk domestic abuse perpetrators who have a long history of abuse against multiple partners.