Nottinghamshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Cutland is at the forefront of national efforts to deliver increased protection and fairer justice for victims of domestic abuse.
Ms Cutland, former Chief Executive of Women’s Aid Integrated Services in Nottingham and the county’s specialist lead on domestic abuse issues, has delivered a presentation to police officers, criminal justice experts and domestic abuse advocates from across the country as part of a national conference in Westminster examining the response and support offered to women and girls who have suffered violence.
Nottinghamshire has played a key role in national efforts to raise standards for victims of domestic abuse, becoming a pilot area to measure the impact of Claire’s Law – a new disclosure scheme which allows people to check the police record of their partners.
Domestic abuse accounts for 40% of all violent crime reported in the county and amounts to 1,000 cases every month. Ms Cutland attended the conference to offer her specialist insight into how the legislation was working in practice and to share her experiences of the partnership work taking place locally to oversee disclosure requests.
The pilot, which has resulted in 39 successful applications for disclosure between September 2012 and March this year, has been part of a vast body of work the deputy commissioner is overseeing to improve how police respond to victims of domestic abuse and increase safeguarding procedures. Ms Cutland is leading on a major research project being carried out by academics to assess current provision for victims of domestic abuse and identify gaps where support could be strengthened. She is also assisting Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping in a consultation exercise involving survivors of domestic abuse to help them enhance future support services as part of the aims set out in the Police and Crime Plan.
Ms Cutland said: “We recognise domestic abuse is a serious issue in Nottinghamshire, and indeed across the country, and we are not going to sit back helplessly and let it happen. Tackling domestic abuse is a key priority in the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan and we are seizing on every possible opportunity to increase the protection we offer to women and girls. Our readiness to utilise innovative disclosure legislation and put ourselves at the forefront of work to reduce domestic abuse is part of a wider goal to improve the support we offer to all victims of crime and increase confidence in the justice process.
“We have embarked on an exhaustive research programme to find out how we can provide victims of domestic abuse with a better deal. We are pursuing a more proactive arrest policy against the perpetrators of these crimes and also mapping out our service provision to ensure that our services are sympathetic and supportive of their needs. Three-quarters of domestic abuse cases are never reported to the police and we need to change this.”
“Victims should be the core consideration of any crime and there needs to be greater consistency in how police approach and respond specifically to victims of domestic abuse. Developing best practice across the county will ensure victims receive the same level of support and assistance wherever they live.”
Ms Cutland has been appointed as chair of the Local Criminal Justice Board’s Victims’ Group which is dedicated to improving the experience of victims and delivering more efficient justice. She will also lead on the commissioning of victims’ services, which transfers to the OPCC from October, and oversee the roll out of the Victims Code providing victims with a legal right to information about their case.
Chris Cutland was raised in the rural setting of Scotland, before moving to Nottingham City in 1978 and then to the Rushcliffe district in 1990.
Chris has a long history of working in the local area, as well as having extensive experience in both the voluntary sector and local government.
Chris is particularly passionate about crimes against women and ensuring the voices of women survivors and victims of crime are heard in the delivery of services. Prior to being appointed as Nottinghamshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Chris was the Chief Executive of a growing a specialist domestic abuse organisation called Women’s Aid Integrated Services (WAIS) in Nottingham for seven years.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012
Posted on Monday 24th March 2014