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Victims Given a Voice


Victims of domestic abuse in County Durham & Darlington can expect an improved level of service thanks to a ground breaking project.

Durham Police and Durham University are working together with victims of domestic abuse to identify how the service they received from police can be improved upon.

The project which has been jointly funded by PCC Ron Hogg and Innovative UK, aims to help frontline officers responding to incidents of domestic abuse, particularly where an offender is behaving in a coercive or controlling way.

Officers will receive training which has been developed from the experience of real life domestic abuse victims.  An element of this training involves working with Open Clasp theatre group to bring victim's experiences to life and give officers the opportunity to test out responses in a learning environment.

Helen Murphy, from Durham Constabulary’s Safeguarding team said: “As a force we receive over 15,000 calls every year to report domestic abuse so it’s crucial our officers have as much training and support as possible to enable them to provide a quality response and service to victims.

“This project is quite unique in that it gives real life victims of domestic abuse the opportunity to share their experience to help shape the service we offer as a police service to future victims.”

PCC Ron Hogg said: “I have commissioned this drama-based training programme which uses academic knowledge to strengthen the front-line response provided to victims of domestic abuse.

 “This continues to demonstrate my commitment and support to victims suffering abuse and complements the joint PCCs Violence against women and girls strategy across the North East.”

Nicole Westmarland, Professor of Criminology at Durham University said: “We are really excited about working in such an innovative way to improve police responses.

“Our initial research showed fairly positive findings about Police Officers’ first responses. Having this drama-based training on coercive control – the more subtle but vitally important - elements of domestic abuse will improve this response even further and make Durham Constabulary a world leading force on responding to domestic abuse.”

Posted on Friday 2nd October 2015
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