New domestic abuse strategy to help tackle violence in Northamptonshire

A new domestic abuse strategy has been developed to help tackle violence in communities across Northamptonshire.

The strategy brings together and builds on the work being done by agencies and voluntary groups to deal with domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Northamptonshire police, fire and crime commissioner Stephen Mold

Northamptonshire police, fire and crime commissioner Stephen Mold

Drawing on the latest good practice, it covers coercive control and stalking for the first time, as a recognition of the prevalence of this behaviour.

The new, multi-agency strategy has been prepared and led by Northamptonshire police, fire and crime commissioner (PFCC) Stephen Mold and Northamptonshire County Council on behalf of the Northamptonshire Community Safety Partnership.

"Domestic abuse has no place in Northamptonshire. This strategy shows that working together, we are serious in our intention to create an atmosphere where abuse will not be tolerated and I am pleased to have been able to make this a reality," he said.

As this newspaper reported earlier this week, more than 16,000 incidents of domestic abuse were recorded by Northamptonshire Police between September 2017 and December 2018.

Meanwhile 4.6 per cent of domestic abuse incidents have a sexual element.

The new strategy will focus on: the development of prevention and intervention initiatives and raising awareness that will improve the response to victims of abuse.

As well as ensuring that children, young people and families affected by abuse have access to support, developing safe accommodation for victims, including keeping them safe in their own homes, and ensuring perpetrators are dealt with effectively by the criminal justice system.

Partner agencies involved in the Community Safety Partnership will work together to develop an action plan to meet these ambitions, a spokesman said.

Chairman Martin Hammond said: “Domestic abuse is one of the partnership’s top priorities and this strategy is the first the board has finalised.

"Each agency will now take the strategy for approval through their own organisations, so that we can be confident it will have the right profile and collective ownership.

"The board will be overseeing and monitoring its impact over the coming months and years.”

The PFCC has already put in place a number of initiatives, some in partnership with Northamptonshire Police, including:

· Adopted a ground breaking new programme to ensure that first time abuse offenders who would be cautioned, have to attend a programme to tackle their abusive behaviour and prevent reoffending

· Funded and helped the force to implement a ‘safer relationships’ programme that intervenes with prolific, high risk domestic abuse offenders to manage their offending

· Planned a campaign with Northamptonshire Police and other partners to begin in November, that will promote an environment where people can spot the early signs of domestic abuse and help victims feel confident to disclose abuse

Other initiatives, such as paying for resources to help make victims’ homes more secure, are also in the pipeline.

Members of the Northamptonshire Community Safety Partnership are: borough, district and county councils, Northamptonshire Police, Northamptonshire police, fire and crime commissioner, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, National Probation Service, Bench CIC, Youth Offending Service, clinical commissioning groups and Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust.