More investment to support domestic abuse victims
The funding will extend the force’s use of dedicated ‘Operation Ribbon’ domestic abuse patrol cars until the end of April 2015 and will also enable the purchase of 200 specialist smart phones with enhanced technology to support high-risk victims of domestic abuse.
Commenting on her commitment to tackle domestic abuse in Sussex, Mrs Bourne said: “Continued investment in the right technology to support victims of domestic abuse is crucial.
“Sussex Police’s Operation Ribbon campaign, which launched in December 2014, provided enhanced support for victims over the festive period. The extra patrol cars act as a deterrent with officers taking a pro-active approach, visiting people known to be at risk of suffering domestic abuse. I am pleased that the benefits of this operation will continue to be delivered with no break in service to victims.
“The specialist smart phones will provide an extra layer of reassurance to domestic abuse victims as they will allow them to have a direct 24-hour line to the police. Victims will be able to activate the phone whenever they feel threatened, intimidated or at risk. They will also support victims of associated crimes such as stalking and harassment.
Detective Superintendent Paul Furnell from Sussex Police Public Protection Unit said: “Sussex Police welcomes this extra funding announced by the PCC for dedicated anti-domestic abuse patrols and for more specialist phones for high risk victims.
“The extension to the Op Ribbon cars will enable police to mount special patrols to respond to incidents of domestic abuse on weekends which remain peak periods. When a Ribbon Car responds to a DA incident, specially-trained officers stay with the victim of domestic abuse, ensuring that a tailored safety plan, including the use of new smart phones, is in place as well as gathering good quality evidence to support a prosecution.
“Although the Christmas and New Year holidays were once again a peak period for reports of domestic abuse in Sussex, we did welcome a slight decrease in the number of incidents compared with previous years: 823 down from 940 the previous year. But at the same time we recorded 305 of them as specific crimes, an increase of 100 over the previous year and arrests so far for the period have doubled, from 141 to 262.
“This reduction in incidents over Christmas may in part be due to the publicity we have given to the subject, but equally importantly to the work we are doing with partners to increase awareness and prevention.”
“RISE welcomes anything aimed at supporting and protecting survivors of domestic abuse” said Gail Gray, Chief Executive, of domestic abuse charity RISE.
“The focus that Operation Ribbon brings is very welcome. The smart phones can be especially useful for victims of stalking, so we are delighted more will be made available”, she continued.
Mrs Bourne added: ”The fight against domestic abuse and the devastating effect it has on families from all walks of life must remain a priority for everyone. It is a serious issue, with one in four women experiencing it in their lifetime and, on average, two women a week killed by a former or current male partner. It often happens behind closed doors, where coercive and controlling behaviour is harder to recognise but can have an equally devastating impact on its victims.
“I would encourage anyone who is suffering abuse by a partner or family member to please report it, if not to police, at least to a professional person or one of the agencies who specialise in providing expert support and advice.”