A specialist team set up to tackle the earliest signs of domestic abuse has helped more than 1,400 families in the first nine months of this year.
Demand for their support is such that the number of domestic abuse specialists in the team has been increased from two to eight, to ensure they can continue to help all the families referred to them.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold invested in a specialist team to focus on prevention and intervene early with young people to reduce the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on their life chances.
Two dedicated workers were then added to this team to focus on domestic abuse and family conflict, so support can now be offered to families from the very first time they come to police attention, and further incidents can be prevented.
When a police officer attends a call to domestic abuse, details of the incident are given to a multi-agency team that reviews every incident, every day to ensure that the highest risk are tackled quickly. This approach deals effectively with the more complex cases, but previously, there was no ability to tackle incidents that appeared to be lower risk, to prevent them escalating.
The two specialist Domestic Abuse Practitioners were added to the ACE Team in 2020 with the brief to engage with everyone who has been visited by police following a report of a domestic or family conflict incident that was lower risk.
The Domestic Abuse Practitioners follow up each incident and contact every family that has received a police response to an incident. They try to understand what has sparked an incident, offering help and advice and signposting to other sources of support.
Support can be given to both the victim and the perpetrator, as well as any children who might have seen domestic abuse.
Sometimes the Team find earlier incidents of abuse that had gone unreported and will ensure that the proper action is quickly taken to safeguard the family involved.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “Through this project and the work of our Domestic Abuse Practitioners, people are receiving help who would not have done so before.
“This specialist team steps in when there is still an opportunity to prevent abusive behaviour from escalating and at a time when someone might be more motivated to accept help.
“I want people in this county to be confident to report abuse and confident that if they do, someone is there to help them. Voice, the victims’ service that sits within my office, provide incredible support to people who come forward for help having been victims of abuse and to better understand the criminal justice process. The ACE Team works at the other end of the spectrum and aim to stop further incidents before they occur. We will do all we can to help ensure that no-one must live with violent or abusive behaviour.”
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Rogers who heads up Northamptonshire Police Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit said: “Domestic abuse can have a devastating impact on victims and their families, with children and young people at risk of serious harm to both their emotional and physical health. Having this specialist team available to support those affected as early as possible is a really positive step. It will assist in reducing trauma, and families will benefit from help and advice so that situations don’t escalate.”