Experts from a wide range of sectors gathered together in Nottinghamshire to discuss how victims of domestic violence can be better protected in the county.
More than 80 delegates attended the Domestic Violence Conference at Nottingham Race Course yesterday (Tuesday, May 13) to consider current support provision in the county and how this can be improved to the benefit of those at risk.
The event, which was organised in partnership with Nottingham-based domestic abuse specialists Equation, is the latest in a series of seminars designed by Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping to pull together criminal justice agencies and the charity and voluntary sector to promote closer working relationships.
A host of prominent speakers shared their experience and expertise on the day including Polly Neate, Chief Executive of National Women’s Aid, Nick Romilly, Public Health Manager at Nottinghamshire County and Nottingham City Council, Superintendent Helen Chamberlain, head of public protection at Nottinghamshire Police and women’s rights and anti-abuse campaigner, Deputy Commissioner Chris Cutland.
The conference heard that partnership working and cross-sector ‘communication’ was vital to achieving positive outcomes in today’s difficult financial circumstances and would ensure any gaps in provision were firmly closed.
The importance of education and early intervention was also a key theme of the day. There was wide acknowledgement among the experts that abused teenagers need special support and young emerging perpetrators require positive role models and guidance in what constitutes a respectful, healthy relationship. There was collective agreement that greater involvement was needed from educational services, particularly schools, which needed better training to identify vulnerable victims.
The conference heard that domestic violence remains an often unspoken crime but even more so within new and emerging communities – those people who have recently set up home in the UK from abroad and have little understanding of our criminal justice system and how they can gain access to help if they need it. Further engagement work was needed to raise awareness of the channels of help, delegates felt.
Speaking after the conference, Chris Cutland said: “The conference went exceptionally well and I think we have all moved forward as a result. We’ve already received some glowing feedback about the day as a whole and I’m confident that getting us all together in one room is the right way of instigating the positive changes we all envisage.
“My priority now is to take the lessons learnt from our colleagues on-board and carve out a better future for victims of domestic violence in Nottinghamshire. This means easing their path through the criminal justice process, reducing the likelihood that they will become a victim again and helping them to heal and move on from their experiences while also giving their children every opportunity to develop positive and peaceful relationships in the future.”
Ms Cutland added that in future the services commissioned would look at the wider picture of domestic violence and would speak with a single voice irrespective of whether their expertise was in health, policing, or third sector. She also said the support provision offered to survivors of domestic abuse should be of equal quality and not a postcode lottery.
Moving forward, an executive group in the county will work to implement the recommendations from the review in time for new commissioning of services in 2015.
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Posted on Wednesday 14th May 2014