Video service transforms how police help domestic abuse victims - The Solihull Observer

Video service transforms how police help domestic abuse victims

Solihull Editorial 18th Jan, 2024   0

A VIDEO reporting service for domestic abuse victims has been described as ‘better, faster and more comprehensive’.

Victims no longer have to fear a knock on the door from a police officer, they can report their abuse via video link which is safe and secure.

When victims report abuse via 999 or 101, with their permission, the call can be transferred over to the new domestic abuse desk at the force.

According to the police the call has no footprint on the victim’s phone, officers are not in uniform and the video background is not visibly West Midlands Police.

The force added: “The video can then be used as evidence in a primary investigation.

“Any visible injuries can also be reported and captured as evidence on the video and the call handler can also then assess the caller’s surroundings.

“Officers can also speak to any children at the victim’s address – from revised legislation last year, children are also victims in domestic abuse so their evidence can be key.”

The desk began in April 2023 and went live in June last year where it was piloted for six months.

It operates from 7am to 11pm, seven days a week covered by 17 sergeants and 55 police constables.

Over the last two months, the desk has taken an average of 950 calls for service each month.

Sue Porter, the victim experience lead at West Midlands Police said: “Victims are happier because they’re being listened to and signposted to the right services but it still remains that if someone is in immediate need of safeguarding and a police response direct, officers can be fast tracked to them.

“The video service negates an officer calling at the door of a victim, it has no footprint on their phone and officers who hold the video calls are plain clothed and the video has a plain background, they also have a cover story in case the perpetrator returns while the video chat is ongoing.

“This service has vastly improved the initial investigation into an abuse case, providing better quality statements from a victim and an evidential package to be taken forward for further investigation.”

A victim can also be signposted to the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as Clare’s Law, which gives anyone the right to ask the police if they believe that they or someone they know is in a relationship with an individual that could be abusive towards them.

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