Domestic abuse is a terrible blight on our society. It comes in many forms and can afflict families of all social classes, ethnic backgrounds and backgrounds. The abject misery for those who are victims can be terrible to witness – and it can be all the worse as it is too often hidden and private.
And it can be a fearfully complex crime to detect, investigate and prosecute. Families may close ranks, victims can be reluctant to take action that might lose a family is main breadwinner and police find themselves called to the same household time and again.
We must break the cycle. It is time to make it clear that domestic abuse will not be tolerated!
If I am elected to be Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland in May, I will make it a priority to give the Chief Constable the resources, tools and backing that he needs to tackle this issue head on.
And we will have the support of the Conservative government behind us. The Government has recently announced its decision to roll out a Domestic Abuse Bill. This bill will mean Leicester City are set to receive £857,364 to tackle domestic violence.
We are all aware of the devastating impact of domestic abuse, not only on the individual suffering the abuse but also extending into circles of family and friends. It is because of this that I fully support the Government’s scheme as I truly believe it will lead to benefits in our city and two counties for victims of domestic abuse.
The main duties of the Police are to maintain the Queens peace and enforce the laws of England however the role of the PCC also extends into the charity sector and in aiding and supporting victims of crime. The office of the PCC funds numerous charities across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland with domestic abuse charities being amongst those funded.
The government have announced that councils across England have been allocated £125 million to provide support for victims of domestic abuse and their children. The 2018 Crime survey in Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland estimated that the number of people affected by domestic abuse in our area is 185,277. Equally upsettingly, the survey also found that over 244,566 children and young people could be being affected by domestic violence and abuse across Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland. With these figures in mind, the need for charities and safe spaces for victims is undeniable.
Domestic Abuse, unlike some other crimes, sees an alarming level of repeat offending. According to a report in 2019 entitled The Domestic and Sexual Violence Needs Assessment Refresh “In 2018, the police identified 973 serial domestic abuse perpetrators (two or more unrelated victims) across Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland. 358 domestic abuse offenders had offended two or more times, accounting for a total of 931 offences.”
Charity work and victim support can only do so much in breaking this vicious cycle. We need to work on rebuilding relationships of trust and honesty between the public and the police to encourage victims to feel safe in coming forward.
The office of the PCC is currently providing funding for essential charities and refuges such as Refuge Provision, Hospital IDVA and Bed and Breakfast all of which are providing crucial support and assistance to women who find themselves victims of domestic abuse.
I am sure that Leicestershire police are doing their utmost to police these horrific and emotional scarring crimes. However, we need to make sure we praise our police for what they are already doing whilst acknowledging the need for an increase in momentum in stamping out these crimes from our county.
I want to ensure that the police here in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland make a reality of the default position hat action must be taken to ensure the safety of victims. That very often calls for a multi-agency response with the involvement of people from the local council and other as well as the police. Close, prompt and effective co-operation is essential for a successful outcome.
Of course, the emotional and practical aspects of domestic violence can make a long term solution difficult to achieve. And even more difficult for the victims to see a way out of their troubles. We must supply safe spaces where the victims can be helped out by safeguarding staff while the police investigate the incidents. If a crime has been committed, I want to see the prosecute the perpetrator no matter what the circumstances or background of the family.
Domestic abuse has no place in our counties or city. If I am elected Police and Crime Commissioner in May, I will do everything that I can to help the victims and punish the guilty.