NHS and police scheme boosts support for domestic abuse victims

10th November, 2021 1:26 pm

More victims of domestic abuse are seeking help and assisting prosecutors thanks to an initiative which sees NHS staff join police patrols.

More than 1,000 victims have been supported since Operation Provide began in Lancashire, an analysis by Liverpool John Moores University found.

It was launched in April 2020 and saw police officers teaming up with NHS safeguarding specialists.

It is running across Blackpool, Fylde, Wyre, Lancaster and Morecambe.

An independent evaluation on the project showed the number of victims engaging with NHS safeguarding advice had increased by 45.7% between April and November 2020, compared to the same period the previous year.

Operation Provide also saw the number of victims cooperating with prosecution rise by 26.9%, according to the university’s study.

The scheme sees NHS safeguarding specialists spending shifts in patrol cars with trained officers to offer support to victims when police respond to a domestic abuse call.

The idea is that when people see someone with an NHS lanyard who is not in police uniform they are more likely to relax.

Officers also reported victims were more likely to give a statement for prosecution if they spoke first to an NHS worker.

One victim, who was forced out of her home by an ex-partner, said the new approach had helped her.

“The police have been amazing I have received great support. I had been living a nightmare. It was just horrendous it didn’t feel real,” she said.

“I was scared and I didn’t want to go home. I was worried about what would happen to me.”

Insp Jon Smith said Lancashire Police had been able to “reach out to these victims, providing a substantial enhancement in the level of support.”

Hazel Gregory, head of safeguarding at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the scheme was “transforming” the approach to domestic abuse.

She added: “The trust has worked with more than 1,000 victims, protecting them immediately after an incident and ensuring they have the support they need with our police colleagues and key partners.”

Source: BBC news online

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