This week is North Yorkshire and York Safeguarding Week (24-28 June 2019), where police, local councils, agencies and charities come together to raise awareness around abuse, how to recognise and report it and where to access help and support.
Each day throughout the week, North Yorkshire Police will be shining the light on different forms of abuse and supporting the key message, that “safeguarding is everyone’s business” highlighting the responsibility we all have to safeguard our families, friends and neighbours.
Today, the force is looking at domestic abuse and how to recognise and report it.
Already this year North Yorkshire Police have received nearly 3,000 reports of domestic abuse*. Traditionally, the summer months and Christmas period are times where police see a peak in the number of reports made.
When people think of domestic abuse, they often think of a violent perpetrator inflicting injury on the victim. Without doubt, the majority of reports of domestic abuse received by North Yorkshire Police involve violence against the victim. In 2018, 82% of domestic abuse reports involved violence.
However, domestic abuse does not have to be physical – abuse can be emotional, mental or sexual. Abusers may use coercive and controlling means to manipulate the victim, using intimidation, degradation, isolation or threats of physical or sexual violence to control them. These forms of abuse are recognised as crimes and are acted upon by police.
Detective Superintendent Allan Harder, head of safeguarding for North Yorkshire Police said:
“Abuse can take a number of forms, many of which are hidden away behind closed doors. Family members or friends may be able to spot the visual signs of abuse – the bruises and cuts. However, for those who are being subjected to mental abuse or who are being controlled through access to money or friends and family, the signs may be harder to spot.
“The aim of Safeguarding Week is to raise awareness of all forms of abuse and to encourage people who may know someone who is living in fear, to come forward and report their suspicions to police.
“If you think a family member or a friend may be at risk and you think their partner may have a history of abusive behaviour, you can make an application to police, under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme introduced under Clare’s Law in 2014.”
The scheme enables any concerned person; a current partner, family member, professional person or next door-neighbour, to ask the police about someone’s past, if they believe that person may pose a potential threat. This part of the scheme is known as ‘Right To Ask.’
Similarly, the same scheme allows police to proactively contact a person and tell them if they are associating with someone who has previously been violent. This part is known as ‘Right To Know’
In 2018, North Yorkshire Police made a total of 272 disclosures under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme. 208 of those disclosures were made under the ‘Right To Know’, with police proactively approaching people to make them aware of a partner’s violent past.
Detective Superintendent Harder continued:
“Domestic abuse, in all its forms, has a devastating effect on victims, their families and the community as a whole. We all have a responsibility to stand up and speak out about it.
“If you know of someone who is living in the shadow of abuse, please contact police on 101 and report your concerns. In an emergency always dial 999.
“If you do not want to report to police, you can still seek advice, help and support through contacting IDAS – an independent domestic abuse charity. Information can be found on their website www.idas.org.uk
“You can also contact your local council’s safeguarding team, or speak to Supporting Victims in North Yorkshire – www.supportingvictims.org
“Irrespective of who you go to for support, the most important thing is that you reach out and contact someone who can help you to make the abuse stop.”
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