People who fear their friends, neighbours and relatives are falling victim to domestic abuse are being reminded of the single most effective thing they can do to help – call the police.
Nottinghamshire Police is issuing this reminder on White Ribbon Day, a global call to action to help end male violence against women.
This year’s #AllMenCan campaign, which will run for the next 16 days, focusses on the things men can do to help reduce violence against women, including by challenging the behaviour of their peers.
The force, which has taken a national lead on its approach to some safeguarding legislation, wants men in particular to understand the many powers it uses almost every day to immediately safeguard victims and survivors – even in cases where criminal charges cannot be secured.
- Clare’s Law (Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme), which gives victims and or people connected to them the ‘right to ask’ police for a disclosure about their partner. In some cases Nottinghamshire Police may proactively approach women where concerns exist about their partner. Nottinghamshire Police was the first force in the country to introduce mandatory consideration or right to know legislation in all cases of domestic assault
- Domestic Violence Protection Orders – civil court orders that can be granted within 48 hours of an officer issuing a temporary Domestic Violence Protection Notice.
- Non Molestation Orders – civil court orders that place restrictions on perpetrators, including not contacting or visiting their victims. Victims are supported by advocacy groups to apply for these
- Evidence Led Prosecutions, where charges can be brought even when victims are do not wish to give a statement or go to court.
- Stalking Prevention Orders – civil court orders that allow police to intervene early before cases have gone to court and / or behaviours escalate. Nineteen such orders are currently in place and the force was recently praised by the Home Office for its work in this area
Detective Inspector Gareth Harding, force lead for domestic abuse, said: “In call cases of domestic abuse our number one priority is the safety and welfare of the victim.
“We will do everything we can to investigate what’s happened and bring the perpetrator to justice, but we are also thinking right from the outset about how we protect that victim from harm.
“And the good news is that there is a lot we can do quite quickly to keep people safe, even in cases where we aren’t able to arrest for charge anyone.
“All we need is for people to come forward to us to tell us what is happening – either the victim themselves or their friends, neighbours and family members.
“I understand that can be a big step for people to take. I also know that some people have assumed in the past that police either don’t want to know about their concerns or have limited ability to intervene. But they really couldn’t be more wrong.
“We actively want to receive reports about domestic abuse and there really are many things we can do almost immediately to help keep victims safe.
“So on White Ribbon Day I would urge all men who may be concerned about a woman they know to contact the police. We will investigate and we will do all we can to keep them safe.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “Violence against women and girls must end. We want to encourage local men and boys to play and active role in practicing allyship by speaking up and shutting down violence against women and girls.
“I want to reiterate the message from the police: If you are in need of help or advice, please contact Nottinghamshire Police. They are here to help, and they really do want to hear from anyone that is concerned with a woman’s safety.”
Frankie Skinner, of the domestic abuse charity Equation, said: “Most survivors don’t, or aren’t able to, report the abuse to the police but many do tell someone close to them. It’s really important friends and family know how they can help and feel empowered to do so. Reporting to the police, or calling the local helpline run by Juno women’s aid is one of the most crucial things a friend can do.
“While it might feel like a big step or like you’re betraying your friend’s trust, domestic abuse is often complex and difficult to navigate safely without expert advice and support. It’s great to see White Ribbon action from the Nottinghamshire Police to encourage men to take action and Equation are also proud to be launching the White Ribbon Notts network this year which we hope will bring together all the amazing work taking place across Notts to engage men and boys in ending violence against women and girls.”
Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “I am delighted to again support this campaign and would like to echo this very timely reminder. We are committed to ending violence against women and girls.
“We rely heavily upon members of the public in order to do that. So please remember that when it comes to cases of domestic abuse we really do want to hear from victims and witnesses at the earliest opportunity.
“We will always do our utmost to safeguard the vulnerable and to seek charging decisions from the CPS. Even where that is not possible we will do everything we can to help keep people safe and to refer victims to local support services.”