Many of our DA Champions join our networks to learn more about domestic abuse, the psychology of coercive control and understand better how this impacts those suffering within a relationship. Some of our DA Champions are police officers who represent the face of criminal justice agencies to those suffering in times of trauma. Our training often helps police officers understand many of the difficult issues they face with domestic abuse and we feel that educating professionals and increasing awareness helps reduce the risk.
One such DA Champion is Inspector James Holden-White in Oxfordshire. He recognised that when the DOM5 form (Thames Valley’s DASH Assessment) moved to a new digital format, it meant that the tear-off page for victims was lost. These sheets were potentially left unread or misplaced, but they did mean that people could be signposted by police at every incident if they wanted it, and have information to refer back to when they felt ready.
James showed us a replacement sheet he was working on but we thought we could take his great idea a step further. This is about educating victims and increasing awareness of what the police do and why they do it. We could find little available in one place on the internet. The criminal justice pathway is a difficult path to follow and individual officers can be hard to contact if they work shifts.
For these reasons:
- We redrafted James’ original sheets into a webpage and separate sheets that simplified the process.
- We were keen to speak directly to victims about the police, without being the police, in a format they could understand.
- We created a URL on our website of www.reducingtherisk.org.uk/police to make it easier for officers to give to victims. This avoids handling paper when COVID distancing or lockdown would restrict it.
- We also created a banner on our homepage for anyone to link to the above, entitled “Police have attended an incident, what happens next?”.
We hope that this clarifies things for those experiencing domestic abuse in trying to explain why things may happen through police involvement that they do not want. We invite anyone to read these sheets and please feedback any constructive comments you may have.
We also want to publicly thank James for his original idea, and to thank a number of individuals, both survivors of DA and those from policing, who helped us in this initiative.