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Specialist domestic abuse training rolled out across Gloucestershire Constabulary

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Gloucestershire Constabulary is helping officers learn how to better help victims of domestic abuse with new specialist training. 

The Domestic Abuse Matters course, delivered by UK charity SafeLives on behalf of the College of Policing, will be rolled out to frontline responders from today (31 October).

This will continue through to the end of March 2024 in line with the Force’s commitment to reducing violence and intimidation against women and girls.

The programme will be continually rolled out within the Constabulary through the train the trainer programme. 

Domestic abuse describes a range of behaviours including physical or sexual abuse, violent or threatening behaviour, controlling or coercive behaviour as well as digital, economic, psychological and emotional abuse.

This crime affects people from all walks of life and backgrounds and can inflict lasting trauma on victims and their families.

The new training programme will enable police officers and staff to spot patterns of domestic abuse, learn how to understand perpetrators and recognise the tactics they may use such as controlling and coercive behaviour.

Officers will also learn how to respond effectively to abuse cases involving older people and male victims.

Gloucestershire Constabulary’s lead for domestic abuse, Detective Chief Superintendent Suzanne Baker said: “This essential training will compliment other work we are doing in the Constabulary to improve our response to dealing with incidents of domestic abuse and it will support our workforce in making a positive difference to those victims and their families.

“Our victims and communities are at the heart of everything we do and we must ensure we do all we can to protect the most vulnerable by effectively investigating crimes of this nature and safeguarding those victims.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire, Chris Nelson, said: “I am passionate about doing all we can to end male violence against women and girls. It has been a top priority of mine since the beginning.

“Though I am aware domestic abuse can affect anyone be it male or female; young or old. This essential training will make the workforce more capable and professional when caring for victims of domestic abuse.

“A lot of domestic abuse perpetrators are repeat offenders, and it often takes many instances of abuse to occur before a victim has the courage to contact police – or someone contacts police on their behalf.

“These victims are often incredibly vulnerable and therefore need specialist care. Which is why I am so pleased that the workforce is receiving the Domestic Abuse Matters course.”

Pete Williams, SafeLives Programme Lead for Domestic Abuse Matters, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Gloucestershire Constabulary and our fantastic team of experienced associate trainers to deliver Domestic Abuse Matters – a cultural change programme created with survivors and designed to create long term, sustainable change. 

“We know that Gloucestershire Constabulary becoming an adopter Force of Domestic Abuse Matters will be welcome news for victim-survivors of domestic abuse in the local area. The programme is designed to increase awareness and understanding of coercive control, and create attitudinal change throughout the entire Force.

“When police officers are able to understand exactly what a victim needs at a certain point in time, it leads to better, more consistent service delivery and a feeling of being believed.

“Victim-survivors and police officers alike want to know that the response to domestic abuse is the best it can be. Gloucestershire Constabulary adopting Domestic Abuse Matters is an important step towards that.”

For local help and support contact Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service: https://www.gdass.org.uk/ or call their helpline which is open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm: 01452 726 570.

Anyone affected by domestic abuse can also contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free and in confidence, 24-hours a day on 0808 2000 247.

In an emergency always call police on 999 or report crime online: https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/ro/report/domestic-abuse/report-domestic-abuse/

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