Women experiencing domestic violence are being urged to take the first step towards ending an abusive relationship and tell the police.
That’s the advice from experienced detectives who work every day to hold perpetrators to account and to keep victims and their families safe.
The plea comes as part of the White Ribbon campaign to address one of the main causes of violence against women and girls – the learned behaviours and attitudes of men.
Domestic abuse often develops over time, starting with emotional abuse and controlling behaviour before escalating to acts of serious physical violence.
Detective Inspector Dan Evans, domestic abuse lead at Nottinghamshire Police, explained:
“As police officers we see the awful reality of domestic abuse every single day, and I cannot stress enough how seriously we take all reports of abuse and that we’re here to help.
“On an almost daily basis we see women suffering the most horrendous physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of male partners.
“We see the cuts, bruises and broken bones.
“We see the children caught in the middle – either as witnesses or victims themselves.
“We see the threats to kill from jealous former partners.
“We see the use of mobile phones and other technology to spy on women and control their lives.
“And we see the real sense of fear women feel about involving the police and holding perpetrators to account.
“Sadly, this is what domestic abuse looks like in 2023. It isn’t just a one-off punch or a slap – it is in far too many cases as insidious and even sadistic campaign of mental and physical abuse.
“That’s why we support the White Ribbon Campaign – because we know just what these toxic attitudes and behaviours can lead to.
“And that’s why we encourage all victims, their friends and their families, to contact the police for help at the earliest opportunity.
“Because we have powers that nobody else has. We can arrest perpetrators, charge the with offences and impose restrictive bail conditions on them in order to break the cycle of abuse.”
In recent years Nottinghamshire Police has adopted a very bold and proactive approach to protecting victims from harm – even in cases where criminal charges cannot be secured.
Proactive arrest and strict bail conditions – Officers are encouraged to arrest suspects, interview them under caution and put in place bail conditions that prevent further harm to victims. These can include restrictions on their movements, access to children and also prohibit any further contact through a third party.
Domestic Violence Protection Orders – civil court orders that can be granted within 48 hours of an officer issuing a temporary Domestic Violence Protection Notice. These are used to protect victims by prohibiting any form of contact by perpetrators.
Non Molestation Orders – civil court orders that place restrictions on perpetrators, including not contacting or visiting their victims. Victims are supported by advocacy groups to apply for these.
Evidence Led Prosecutions - where charges can be brought even when victims do not wish to give a statement or go to court.
Stalking Prevention Orders – civil court orders that allow police to intervene early before cases have gone to court and / or behaviours escalate. Nineteen such orders are currently in place and the force was recently praised by the Home Office for its work in this area
Clare’s Law (Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme) – which gives victims and or people connected to them the ‘right to ask’ police for a disclosure about their partner. In some cases Nottinghamshire Police may proactively approach women where concerns exist about their partner. Nottinghamshire Police was the first force in the country to introduce mandatory consideration or right to know legislation in all cases of domestic assault.
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Routledge, added:
“In all cases of domestic abuse our number one priority is the safety and welfare of the victim. Obviously as police officers we want to bring people before the courts, but a question we always is ‘how can we prevent further harm?’
“We totally understand how hard it can be for victims to come forward and support prosecutions.
“But working with specialist domestic abuse support workers, we will do everything we can to ensure victims get the ongoing help and support they need.
“All we need is for people to come forward to us to tell us what is happening – either the victim themselves or their friends, neighbours and family members.