Crisis domestic violence advisors working with police are making a positive difference to victims
Main article content
Crisis Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) supporting Northamptonshire Police are making a positive difference to victims of domestic abuse.
Crisis IDVAs work from the Force Control Room to assist both call handlers and police officers in dealing with live domestic abuse incidents. They also call victims and partner with officers attending visits in order to offer the victim and their family support.
Crisis IDVAs are employed by Voice for Victims and Witnesses – a free and confidential support service delivered by and part of the Office of Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold. Voice and its services are independent of policing and provide support to victims and witnesses of crime in Northamptonshire.
The Crisis IDVAs support the police at the weekend between 5pm and 2am, which are peak demand times for domestic abuse incidents.
The advisors are specially trained in crisis intervention, and can offer practical advice and explain the help and support that’s available for victims of domestic abuse. They also risk assess and help victims to put individual safety plans in place. Furthermore, they can help with the next steps should someone want to leave an abusive relationship, and also arrange for support during criminal justice proceedings.
Survey results showed that on average participants rated their interaction with IDVAs as 9.7 out of 10.
Over 90% of survey respondents also said they would likely agree to receiving support to help with their domestic abuse situation.
Over 80% of respondents felt they were listened to, were treated with empathy and compassion – with 85% feeling their concerns were taken seriously.
Detective Chief Inspector Hayley Costar, who leads the Northamptonshire Police Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit said: “We are very pleased that survey results show that having the Crisis IDVAs available in the control room is a positive thing for victims.
“The IDVAs are enormously beneficial to both the victim and to the police. Our officers have said that it has helped with risk assessment and for intervention to happen at the earliest possible opportunity.
“Our joint aim is to ensure the safety of the victim and reduce the possibility of repeated abuse.
“The Crisis IDVAs offer both emotional and practical support and have been immensely successful in developing a rapport with victims, helping them to talk about their situation and the abuse they’ve suffered – which in turn helps us to build a clear picture, safeguard the victim and pursue the perpetrator.”
”Domestic abuse can be physical or psychological and affects women, men and children, from all walks of life. It has no place in our society and shouldn’t be tolerated. It is important that anyone suffering from domestic abuse knows that we are here to help them. We are actively working to keep people safe, and the Crisis IDVAs are supporting us to do that.”
Charlotte Gunn, Senior Service Delivery Manager for Voice said: “Crisis IDVAs recognise the complexities of domestic abuse and the risks to the individual and their family members. They also have significant knowledge of the support that’s available to help victims move forward, which many victims aren’t aware of.
“We know it can be hard for victims to talk about what’s happened to them. They often feel isolated and alone, but our specialist advisors are skilled communicators and good listeners.
“Voice and the Crisis IDVAs are independent, and the partnership approach with Northamptonshire Police means we can provide help at the earliest opportunity. Victims will be aware of the options open to them, can make informed decisions, and know that there is help and support available. Our joint work will help us to safeguard more individuals and help to prevent repeated abuse.”
Anyone suffering from domestic abuse is urged to call the police on the non-emergency 101 or, in an emergency, always call 999.
If you are not yet ready to contact the police but would like help and support, please call Voice on 0300 303 1965 or visit www.voicenorthants.org