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Deputy Commissioner advises domestic abuse victims that 'coming forward is the safest way forward' this Christmas

Anti-violence campaigner and Nottinghamshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Cutland is appealing for vulnerable victims of domestic abuse to seek help and protection from the police this Christmas – not suffer in silence.

Domestic violence typically spikes during the festive and New Year period however many victims are too afraid to report their experiences to police.  

Ms Cutland, former Chief Executive of Women’s Aid Integrated Services in Nottingham and the county’s specialist lead on domestic abuse issues, said no one had a right to terrorise or harm another person in the guise of a relationship and promised victims that by coming forward they “would not be alone”.

“One of the biggest fears among domestic violence victims is that once they report crime to the police that their safety will be further jeopardised and they will be left alone to pick up the pieces,” she said.

“This could not be further from the truth. Nottinghamshire Police works in conjunction with a host of emotional and practical support services to ensure vulnerable victims and their families are not only protected from an abuser and provided with a safe haven, but receive the help they need to rebuild their lives and their self-esteem.

“Christmas is a stressful time of year for many families, but especially those with a history of domestic violence. However, there is never an acceptable excuse for violence or aggression and I don’t want any woman or man to suffer in silence or fear being left in the cold.

“If you’re a victim of domestic violence this Christmas or indeed at any other time of the year, you can be assured that Nottinghamshire Police will listen to you, in confidence, take whatever action is necessary to protect you and your family and ensure robust action is taken against your abuser to prevent further harm.”

The Deputy Commissioner’s plea comes as new figures show that 179 people have been saved from a potentially abusive relationship in the county under Clare’s Law since the legislation was initially trialled in the county in 2012.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme enables men and women to request information on the history of a partner to protect them from a potentially abusive relationship.  

Research shows that on average, a victim will suffer 35 physical assaults before ever seeking help from the police which makes it very difficult for officers to intervene.

Clare’s Law, which was successfully trialled in Nottinghamshire before being rolled out nationally, was introduced in an effort to prevent vulnerable men and women from entering an abusive relationship in the first place.  One of the reasons why the Force is keen for victims to come forward is to ensure the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice and that other women are protected in the future.

A total of 82 of those benefitting from the disclosure scheme in Nottinghamshire were provided with information on a ‘right to ask’ basis which refers to a situation in which a member of the public requests information from the police.

The remaining number (97) was advised on a ‘right to know’ basis which refers to a situation in which the police receives information suggesting an individual could be at risk.

“Clare’s Law is a way of protecting those at risk before violence ever takes place, saving the victim from a possible lifetime of emotional and psychological harm,” said Ms Cutland.

“If you or someone you know is already a victim of domestic violence we can open the door to help but we need to know.”

Clare’s Law is named after 36-year-old Clare Wood who was murdered by her estranged partner in 2009. By the time of her death, she had suffered months of sexual abuse and death threats before being strangled by George Appleton, who had a history of violence against women.

To make a request for information under the Disclosure Scheme, contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101. If you are experiencing domestic abuse or are worried about a friend or a member of your family, visit

http://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/advice/domesticabuse/clareslaw

Ends

 

Media Enquiries:    Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401

 

 

Posted on Tuesday 22nd December 2015
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