DOMESTIC ABUSE: Response cars to be rolled out until end of Euros
Response cars to help victims and catch perpetrators of domestic abuse will be rolled out once again on Teesside until the end of a major football tournament.
Cleveland Police has confirmed its domestic abuse support cars started work again on Friday (April 16) – and will work on Friday, Saturday and Sundays in the coming weeks.
Specialist support staff and workers from domestic abuse organisations are “second responders” to cases and offer help to vulnerable victims when calls of domestic abuse come.
The force says the use of cars allows more time to be spent with victims – with the aim of boosting confidence in police support when criminal cases against abusers are pursued.
Middlesbrough councillors heard an update on the performance of Operation Phoenix last year which featured use of the domestic abuse cars (April 15).
Vehicles were widely used during the operation last year with the force saying they attended 32 incidents in one weekend.
Figures presented to the culture and communities scrutiny panel showed the cars carried out 114 visits during the operation from July until the end of October last year.
Superintendent Marc Anderson confirmed the vehicles would be working “into July”.
He said: “It’s going to run until the end of the Euros football in July – there is an officer who will go out with an independent domestic violence advocate to offer support.
“We’re also looking at having independent domestic violence advocates to potentially work in the control room and there is a business case in place at this time.”
Hartlepool, Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland saw rises in domestic abuse cases during the first lockdown in 2020.
After the meeting, Detective Chief Inspector Jayne Downes, from the force’s domestic abuse unit, said the support cars were used alongside organisations such as My Sisters Place, EVA Women’s Aid, Harbour and Foundation.
“Their help is absolutely essential and it means together we can work holistically to prevent and reduce the likelihood of future domestic incidents,” she added.
“Police can look at any criminal justice element of an incident while our partners can offer instant advice and access to services, depending on the complainant’s individual situation and wishes.
“Vitally, we can safeguard people and help them break free from the cycle of abuse which victims often find themselves locked into.”
Det Ch Insp Downes warned the force was expecting a rise in demand from domestic abuse as restrictions ease – and urged victims, and those reporting on behalf of someone else, to come forward and access help.
Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter
Watch the channel on TV