Hampshire Constabulary and Aurora New Dawn working in partnership to support victims of domestic violence
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The number of domestic abuse related incidents being reported to Hampshire Constabulary within the New Forest district has begun to increase in recent month. In June 2021 there were 143 incidents reported to police while 165 incidents were reported in May 2021.
This comes after a decrease in reports being made directly to police in the early stages of this year; falling from 145 incidents in January 2021 to 111 incidents in April 2021.
Domestic abuse and intimate partner violence disproportionately affects women but it does also affect men and has a huge impact on children. Domestic abuse takes many forms whether that be physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse. It also includes victims being threatened, intimidated, stalked or harassed by a current or previous partner or close family member.
At times, victims might be feeling frightened, isolated, ashamed or confused. If they have children it is very likely they too are suffering, whether they witness abuse or not.
It is vitally important for victims and survivors to remember that they are not to blame for what is happening. Likewise, they are not alone, and above all, they do not have to suffer in silence.
Help is available to them.
That is why Hampshire Constabulary have teamed up with Hampshire-based charity Aurora New Dawn – which supports and works with victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence and stalking across Hampshire – to shine a light on the support available to domestic abuse victims in the local community.
Here, Gina, an independent domestic violence advocate, tells us more about the role of Aurora New Dawn in supporting victims in Hampshire and how the organisation works alongside Hampshire Constabulary.
“Through our DVA car service, Aurora New Dawn primarily provides support and safeguarding advice at the time of a domestic violence incident and / or crisis point. We explore their options moving forward and signpost or refer onto any relevant agencies to provide longer term support. We also help to increase engagement with wider partner agencies, particularly Hampshire Constabulary.
"We hope that our support provides the message that there is lots of help available when they are ready, that we are listening, we believe them and we are here. Sometimes that is enough, this can give victims and survivors a sense of validation, hope and reassurance that they are not alone and what they are experiencing is real and not okay.
“In my role as a domestic violence advocate, I am part of a team supporting victims and survivors of domestic abuse, working in partnership with Hampshire Constabulary to ensure victims receive the best possible support and advice. This is through a pilot scheme – Aurora New Dawn Domestic Violence and Abuse Cars - which has been running across Hampshire for some time.
“We are based at local police stations across the county, primarily on Friday and Saturday nights, working alongside an allocated Response & Patrol officer. The Hampshire Constabulary control room can request that we attend a domestic violence incident at the point of the 999 call, if required. This enables both police officers and Aurora advocates to provide tailored face-to-face support, signposting and reassurance at time of incident, often when victims and survivors are hesitant to engage with police or feel intimated by the situation they are facing.
“We work alongside officers to support the victim and / or survivor and explain the criminal justice system process, as well as onward options which are considered separate from any potential police involvement or criminal investigation. While also completing risk assessments, provide alarms where appropriate and other relevant safeguarding advice. The allocated officer is able to engage with the victim around policing matters and obtain a witness statement, where appropriate, should they wish to provide one.
“Together, Hampshire Constabulary and Aurora strive for a safe space for victims and survivors, which allows them to feel supported for when they are ‘ready’ to engage with us. This level of partnership working is imperative to tackling domestic abuse, utilising skills of police officers alongside Aurora independent victim-focused advocacy, to provide victims and survivors with unique face-to-face support when they may need it the most.”
Inspector Brian Goodall of Hampshire Constabulary’s New Forest Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Domestic abuse, of any kind, will not be tolerated. We will always seek to work with third-party support organisations like Aurora New Dawn and other localised commissioned services, in order to support victims of domestic abuse in any way that we can.
“Likewise, our local Neighbourhood Policing Teams - alongside support from our colleagues from our Response and Patrol and Western Investigation teams – review all reported domestic abuse incidents in the New Forest district and explore all reasonable lines of enquiry. This is with a view to identifying those responsible and bringing them to justice.
“We would urge anyone that has been a victim of domestic abuse, should they feel comfortable in doing so, to come forward and to report this to the police or organisations like Aurora New Dawn. We appreciate that this might be difficult, but allows us the opportunity to provide you with the support you and other family members may require, but also for us to pursue criminal proceedings if appropriate.
“You are not alone – we are here to support you.”
If you require police assistance in an emergency, please dial 999 immediately.
Aurora New Dawn also has an Out of Hours helpline, available 6pm-9am weekdays and 24/7 at the weekends – which can be contacted using 02394 216816. It is there to support those victims and survivors who feel they need emergency advice and guidance. This is also available to professionals.