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[14 OCT 98] COMMUNITY NEWS
Warwickshire Police Tackle Domestic Violence

Warwickshire police has launched a new drive to help victims of domestic violence. Working together with local womens groups and the Warwickshire Domestic Violence Forum (WDVF) the new campaign is aimed at reducing the fear and hurt suffered by many people, mainly women, who are beaten in their own homes.

The new approach comes after figures revealed that many victims of domestic violence didn’t even report their terrible plight to police, and if they did, they rarely saw their complaint through – many because they were too scared.

Research has also shown that the treatment victims and families received differed across the county. Now, by working with all agencies, police in Warwickshire are hoping to give victims a more comprehensive service which will be the same across the whole area.

Police said the New Approach doesn’t just involve a bobby calling on victims but also other workers who can offer emotional counselling and practical support. This support, it is hoped, will give victims the strength they need to stand up to their attackers.

Latest figures show that across the county there were 485 incidents of domestic violence reported to police but police fear that may just be the tip of the iceberg.

The new approach was launched by Superintendent David Whitehouse, area commander in Leamington Spa. He said the new approach was designed to positively support all of the family, including the attacker. He said:

‘’Through positive intervention police and the WDVF will work pro-actively with both the victim and the perpetator.’’

The new approach will involve a three tier response starting with a letter warning attackers of the seriousness of domestic violence and a list of places where both they and the victim can get help. Further letters will be sent if the violence continues but that is not where the help stops.

Police are also planning to talk to victims offering mobile phones and personal alarms. Victims could also get involved in a ‘Cocoon Watch’. This involves neighbours, family and friends regularly checking up on the victim and being ‘on call’ if needed.

Wendy Huckle, from the Warwickshire Domestic Violence forum, welcomed the new initiative. She said:

‘’During the last four years support workers throughout Warwickshire have worked very hard to understand the issues that surround domestic violence. The ‘New Approach’ is a result of the commitment and determination by support workers and the police to continue to develop the support network for families.

’’Our experience has shown that vicitms contact police for protection. However their expectations are not always in line with reality. Few victims, for a number of reasons, actually want to press charges of assault against their violent partner. The ‘New Approach’ with everyone working together offers extra support for those who do, but also recognises that options are needed for those who don’t.’’

 

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CWN / Community / 14 Oct 98 / Warwickshire Police Tackle Domestic Violence
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