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Domestic Violence Victims Risk Being Failed

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7:01am 27th March 2014

Victims of domestic abuse in Cornwall risk being failed by the police.

A report from inspectors says the force needs to get better at working out who is in charge of keeping victims safe - and identifying them in the first place.

The force has admitted there are "inconsistencies" in its service and is pledging to improve.

One in ten crimes recorded in the southwest over the last year are connected to domestic abuse. 46% of calls come from repeat victims.

The report concludes: "HMIC found that there are some significant risks in the way that Devon and  Cornwall Police tackle domestic abuse. While it is a clear priority for the force and the police and crime commissioner (PCC), and there are strong relationships with partners across the two counties providing services to victims
of domestic abuse, the force does not yet provide a consistent service in all cases of domestic abuse."

"There is a need to clarify roles and responsibilities of all staff particularly in relation to safeguarding victims. Ongoing workforce reorganisation provides an opportunity to achieve this. While there are pockets of good work taking place across the force, and those working with victims are committed to improving the service the victims receive, this report identifies areas for further development and improvement."

The report has uncovered weaknesses in training which mean that the force can not be sure that victims are being consistently identified and therefore offered the right support.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Bickley said: “I know there is much good work taking place within Devon and Cornwall in the field of domestic abuse, however, the report has highlighted inconsistencies which we need to address.  

“It is essential that victims are at the forefront of everything we do and that any victim of domestic abuse feels they are able to seek support from the police and our partner agencies.

“We recognise there are too many inconsistencies in the service which the report identifies. Some of these we had already identified and are addressing.

“Domestic abuse is a force priority, as it is for the Police and Crime Commissioner, and we are determined to drive up the quality of service given to victims, while we will seek to standardise good practices across the peninsula.”

Assistant Chief Constable Bickley added: “It is vital that victims of domestic abuse in Devon and Cornwall are reassured that this is one of our priority areas and that they should feel confident in our ability to support them and tackle this hidden and damaging crime.  

“We have experienced and specially trained officers who will support any victim and their circumstances will be dealt with professionally and with sensitivity.”

7:01am 27th March 2014

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