Additional specially-trained officers will be dedicated to victims and those who commit domestic abuse for the duration of the Euro 2016 football games.
From Friday 10 June to Sunday 10 July 2016, officers will be conducting extra reassurance visits to high-risk victims to ensure they continue to be safe.
In addition, police will be targeting serial perpetrators of domestic abuse and ensuring effective safeguarding measures are put in place in relation to children and vulnerable adults. Known offenders of domestic abuse can also expect to receive a police visit to ensure they are abiding by any special conditions or court orders.
There is an average of 498 domestic abuse incidents a month across Dorset and reports of domestic abuse tend to increase when major sporting tournaments take place. Detective Inspector Fiona Gaffney said: “It is a priority for Dorset Police to support victims of domestic abuse, encourage the reporting of these crimes and ensure those who inflict abuse are brought to justice.
“Alcohol can play a part in domestic abuse. If you commit an act of domestic abuse, you will be arrested and could face a significant custodial sentence.”
With support from Women’s Aid, 800 police officers and staff are also receiving additional domestic abuse training including guidance following the introduction of new domestic abuse legislation in December 2015, which includes coercive and controlling behaviour as a criminal offence.
Teresa Parker from Women’s Aid said: “Women’s Aid runs a campaign called Football United Against Domestic Violence, where we work with the footballing community to raise awareness of domestic abuse and send out the message that it is never acceptable.
“Football does not cause domestic abuse, but there can be increased reporting of abuse during big tournaments. With factors such as increased alcohol consumption and the heightened emotions associated with football meaning that existing abuse can be exacerbated.
“We know the importance of providing training to the police about domestic abuse, delivering alongside police trainers to ensure our content is as relevant and practical as possible. We need to work together to ensure the standardisation of the police response to domestic abuse across force areas, not just at the time of the Euros, but throughout the year.”
Fiona Gaffney adds: ‘Dorset Police is committed to preventing coercive and controlling offences as well as serious violent crimes. Perpetrators need to know that these coercive and controlling behaviours are now criminal and we will pursue and prosecute.
“Along with our own experienced and specially-trained officers who investigate these offences, we also work in close partnership with other support agencies who can offer support, advice and guidance. In addition, the police have powers through Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders, to bar suspected perpetrators of domestic violence from contacting a victim and stop them returning to a victim’s home.
“I strongly encourage anybody experiencing any form of domestic abuse to report it and seek help.”
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, said: “Reports of domestic abuse traditionally increase during major sporting events and it is right that we put additional resources in place to support victims and prosecute offenders.
“We are now able to offer tailored courses to male domestic abuse victims as well as Freedom courses to female victims, along with specialist counselling to child victims of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is all about control and I would encourage victims to speak out – you do not have to suffer in silence.”
For more information on support services available throughout Dorset visit: www.dorsetforyou.com/dvahelp.
Dorset Police: 101 (In an emergency always dial 999)
National Support for Victims:
National DV Helpline (24 hour): 0808 2000247
National Men’s Advice Line (for male victims): 0808 8010327
For young people experiencing abuse visit: www.thisisabuse.direct.gov.uk for advice and support.