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VICTIMS of domestic abuse throughout the region are set to benefit from two new funds totalling £420,000 – in what has been described by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness as ‘a significant boost for our efforts in supporting everyone affected by the cycle of abuse’.

The Drive Project, which launched earlier this week, will target the most high-risk, high harm and serial perpetrators and protect hundreds of associated victims, including children.

The scheme will offer 90 domestic abuse perpetrators across the region intensive behaviour change support with the aim of preventing future offending. This project has been made possible thanks to funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, all six local authorities across the region and the Home Office.

In addition to this new programme, charities and support organisations across the North East are also set to share an extra £252,000 of emergency funding. This grant is to help key organisations continue delivering support services to vulnerable victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence as the Coronavirus pandemic restrictions continue.

This is the second round of extraordinary funding secured by the PCC from the Ministry of Justice, and follows a successful bid back in June when the region was awarded £500,000 to help services cope with a surge in demand during difficult times.

Welcoming the Drive Project launch, Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “We’ve been calling out for more money to help those suffering from abuse for some time. The pandemic is far from over and we have to ensure specialist support is able to continue and reach those who need it most, as well as preventing it from happening in the first place.

“The funding of these projects and services gives a significant boost to the region’s efforts in supporting everyone affected by the cycle of abuse and it’s great to be making this announcement during the international 16 days of action campaign around eliminating violence and abuse.

“I’m confident that all this work together will have a lasting impact in tackling the evils of abuse, reducing offending and helping those victims who we see harmed time and time again. We have to do everything we can to put a stop to it”

Since the original Drive pilot in 2016, for the duration of the intervention, Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) reported risk to the victim reduced in 82 percent of cases. When Drive was not involved victims/survivors were three times more likely to experience physical abuse at case closure than when Drive was involved.

Kyla Kirkpatrick, Director of Drive, said: “We are looking forward to working closely with the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and Barnardo’s, as well as a fantastic network of local partners, to do all we can to make victims and survivors of domestic abuse safer by responding effectively to those who are causing the harm – the perpetrators. We know that the introduction of the Drive Project will be alongside the incredible and pioneering work of the Northumbria OPCC and MATAC in recent years and the significant partnership work embedded across local authorities in Northumbria. We are very grateful for this opportunity to work together to strengthen and expand the work currently led by partners in Northumbria.”

Interventions to the identified perpetrators will be delivered by Barnardo’s with the overall aim of protecting victims, improving and changing the perpetrators behaviour, disrupting their offending and protecting children from further exposure to domestic abuse.

Emma Ramsay, Barnardo’s Assistant Director Children’s Services, said: “Barnardo’s is pleased to be contributing to this important programme. We have long experience of working with perpetrators in the North East with the aim of changing their behaviour.

“There is growing evidence that children who live in families where there is domestic abuse can suffer serious long-term emotional effects. We believe that the best way to help children in this situation is to help their families.”

The additional emergency funding of £252,000 from the Ministry of Justice will be allocated across 24 charities and social enterprises funded in June. Services welcoming this cash boost include Northumberland Domestic Abuse Service, Streetwise, Community Counselling Co-operative and Children North East.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you can report an incident by ringing 101 or visiting www.northumbria.pnn.police.uk. Also in a non-emergency situation you can text the police on 07786 200814.
In an emergency, always call 999. If you dial 999 and are unable to speak, the emergency operator will ask you to dial 55 and to follow their instruction to quickly put you in touch with police.
If you are worried that your own behaviour may be harming a loved one, you can call the Respect Helpline 0808 8024040 (webchat service also available)
The OPCC commissions a range of specialist support services for children and young people affected by domestic abuse.

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Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, is reaching out to local farmers inviting them to take part in a survey on fighting crime and preventing crime, to ensure the views of the region’s rural communities are used to help shape future policing plans.

Kim wants to make sure valuable insight from Northumberland residents is captured and all feedback will inform a new Police and Crime Plan outlining what the force should focus on to ensure Northumbria stays one of the safest regions in the country.

Northumbria Police serves a wide range of areas, all with unique challenges and rural crime is known to have a devastating effect on rural communities – its people and its businesses too.

Farm equipment, livestock thefts and sheep worrying are all typical crimes known to impact those living in rural areas but Kim wants to make sure issues like domestic abuse and violence aren’t hidden crimes that get forgotten in the remote parts of our region too.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “I want to get a lot out of this survey and the more insight, knowledge and opinion from our farmers and rural residents the better. Their opinions need to be heard – this survey is for you, I’m listening.

“Crime is crime, no matter where it takes place. Rural, urban – we need to fight it and prevent it happening in all corners of the region. Sheep, quad bikes, tools – if opportunists see an opening and it isn’t nailed down, they’ll take it so we need to work together to step up security efforts and make things difficult for them. We also need to look at the root causes, what is driving people to steal and how can we prevent that being the case. Any insight on this is valuable to me.”

Kim added: “This is not only an opportunity to really get a handle on the types of crimes farmers are experiencing but crucially how they feel about the policing response. I also know that a lot of rural crime goes unreported – talk to me about why this is the case and what we can do about it.”

“Thankfully we live in one of the safest areas in the country and I’m proud of our police force, but of course there are things we can do better. This consultation will allow us to say what needs improving and what we need to see more of. I want to hear the good, the bad, and I welcome new ideas too, it will all help our work to fight crime, prevent crime and improve lives in our region.”

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “As a farmer myself I know the issues faced by those of us living and working in rural and sometimes very isolated areas.

“While crime levels may not be high it’s important everyone feels safe in their local community and know police are on hand if needed.

“The views of farmers are important in helping shape the future of policing in our county and beyond and I hope people can spend a few minutes taking part in this survey.”

People can respond to the survey online by visiting http://bit.ly/PCPCon2020. The consultation closes on Friday 4 December.

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PCC Kim McGuinness launches Operation Payback to put criminals’ cash back where it belongs

A £350,000 pot of money recovered from criminals in the North East is going to be put back where it belongs – into the grass roots of local communities. This is part of a new funding initiative launched today by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness.

Local projects and community groups that strive to make their community a better place are encouraged to get their applications in to stand a chance of receiving a cash boost to help make a difference to local lives.

Whether you’re a group that supports vulnerable people or a project that provides diversionary activities to help tackle anti-social behaviour – if your aim is to improve lives or prevent crime, you could fit the bill. You could play a valuable role in helping the Commissioner repair the harm caused to communities by crime.

The funding, which includes money from items seized from criminals will be used to bring to life new ideas, initiatives and encourage collaboration with others.

In the years to come the fund will be topped up with some of the money seized from criminal activity under the Proceeds of Crime Act (PoCA), with some recovered funds also going to Northumbria Police to help them target more criminals.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said the scheme is looking for anything which would have a really positive impact at a local level, particularly in areas affected by high crime rates. She explained: “I’m excited about this because it really is payback time. There are people and entire communities who have suffered so much at the hands of criminals who have caused great misery to others. With this money we want to help groups to really turn things around in their neighbourhood. We want the money to help prevent others from going down a path that leads to a life of crime.”

Kim continued: “Operation Payback is designed to empower local groups to find solutions to the issues that matter locally. So let’s give power to the people and help them repair the harm caused to communities by crime. This is a real opportunity for us to reward those who are trying to achieve good things by making their bright ideas and interventions possible.”

Applications are welcome from community, charity, social enterprise or voluntary groups from within the Northumbria Police force area and must aim to combat the impact of crime, reduce crime and provide diversionary activities. Projects must cost between £5,000 and £25,000 and must have the ability to spend before March 2022. For more information, full criteria and terms and conditions please visit the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner’s website.

 

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Crime has fallen once again across Northumbria, continuing the trend seen over the past 12 months. With the region in lockdown earlier this year, crime fell at an even sharper rate than previously seen – with over 6,000 fewer crimes recorded following the first national lockdown.

Today Northumbria’s Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness praised a combination of proactive police work and a dedicated Violence Reduction Unit for operating throughout the lockdown, taking advantage of the restrictions to target criminals and keep crime down.

The latest data from the Office of National Statistics showed a further 13% reduction in total recorded crime.  These latest crime figures show a continued fall over the 12 month reporting period from June 2019 to June 2020. Along with a fall in overall crime, Northumbria saw knife crime, drug offences and violence against the person all fall.

Explaining the latest data, Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Despite the challenges brought upon the force by Covid-19, we have continued to fight crime and prevent crime. While it is understandable that certain crimes have fallen during this period, this cannot just be attributed to Covid.

“For example, knife crime had been on the decrease since before the lockdown measures and now, as of June 2020 has fallen by 17% – a reflection on the work we are doing to fight crime. Whilst one knife is still too many on our streets, it is extremely pleasing to see the impact we’ve made and this will continue.”

“The changes brought about as a result of lockdown enabled a range of operations and enforcement led work to take place – targeting criminals and tackling crimes that have had devastating impacts on victims. A number of operations have been successfully executed with arrests made, drugs & money seized, vehicles uplifted and our communities ultimately made safer.”

As previously reported, anti-social behaviour notably increased across the recording period, peaking between April – June 2020 when it rose by 101% vs the same period last year.

The Commissioner reassured residents that tackling anti-social behaviour was a priority for the force, and communities concerns were being listened to.

Kim said, “I understand the concerns from residents and we are addressing this as a priority – whether it be through additional funding for youth services to engage young people, or increased patrols on the Metro network to ensure people can travel safely.

“Nearly half of all ASB incidents during this period were Covid-19 breaches and reports, which is not surprising given the shocking communication and handling of this by the Government. We will continue to engage with members of the public, and ensure the guidelines are being followed – for their own safety more than anything else.”

In response to the increase in ASB, the Commissioner allocated over £135,000 to support some of the region’s smaller charities recover from the impact of the lockdown, and resume their much needed youth services for vulnerable young people.

One of the charities to benefit from this was Newsham and New Delaval Youth Forum, who used the funding to support vulnerable young people at risk of being involved in serious violence in South East Northumberland.

Commenting on the impact of the funding, Chris Antony said: “The funding allowed us to deploy workers in areas of most need, and we’ve engaged with over 220 young people since being awarded the funding – primarily around Blyth skate park and the Cottingwood Green area of Newsham. This has allowed us to develop relationships with the young people, challenge their behaviour and discuss the problematic situations that many find themselves in.”

With England now in another lockdown, and uncertainty around what future local restrictions may entail, the Commissioner acknowledged that the changing rules will continue to present challenges to policing.

Kim said: “With new guidance and restrictions, come additional challenges – the majority of our communities continue to follow these responsibly, however where there are clear and consistent breaches, enforcement will follow.

“ASB has not, and will not, just be an issue during Covid – the types of ASB may have changed, but these behaviours still blight communities and residents, and it has to be tackled. The public have told me through my Police & Crime Plan consultation that they want this tackled, and action will follow – everyone deserves to feel safe in their community.”

The Police & Crime Plan consultation is open until Friday 4th December and can be completed here: https://bit.ly/PCPCon2020

 

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CHILDREN must not be the forgotten victims of domestic abuse, says Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness as new figures from Northumbria Police reveal children live at nearly half of the homes where domestic abuse is reported.

So far, in 2020, 42 per cent of the force’s domestic abuse related calls come from homes with one or more children present or residing at that address.

The Police Commissioner has also warned of the impact Covid-19 has had on domestic abuse with unhealthy relationships at home intensifying, perpetrators using restrictions to increase controlling behaviours and school closures leaving children unable to escape.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “Estimates say up to a quarter of a million children are living with domestic abuse in England and many of those will be suffering in silence, right here in the North East. Children are just as much the victims in this.

“In nearly half the domestic abuse incidents our force knows about, and remember there’s a great deal of under-reporting that goes on, children live in that address. That is a disturbing figure. They hear the screams, they see the violence and in some cases they are on the receiving end of it. They are there living the abuse too. Just think how frightened a child must be if they’ve felt the need to pick up the phone and press 999 because it’s got so bad at home – the very place where they should feel safe and secure.”

Since schools re-opened in September, the education team from PCC Kim McGuinness’ Violence Reduction Unit has been busy delivering sessions to schools on healthy relationships and where to go to seek support.

Kim added: “The impact on children is a real area of concern for me. Support for children living with domestic abuse is crucial and must be there at an early stage to help avoid trauma later in life – schools often have a very important role to play in supporting those who are suffering at home.

“Earlier this year my office was also able to fund some brilliant projects through the Children Affected by Domestic Abuse funding. This was about helping crucial organisations adapt and cope with increased demand brought on by the pandemic.

“But we must remember the pandemic doesn’t cause domestic abuse – the problem is already there it’s just heightened things. Supporting children who are affected needs real long term commitment if we are going to change lives and prevent abuse being normalised in families and repeated in future generations.”

West End Women and Girls Centre used funding from the PCC’s office to extend the employment of a full time Domestic Abuse Peer Educator who has facilitated preventative work around DA and healthy relationships with young women as well as 1:1 support.

Laura Christer, Senior Domestic Violence Peer Educator at the centre, said: “Our work is essential to stop the cycle of domestic abuse at an early age by building the power and knowledge of young women and girls to say no to abusive behaviours. Without this funding we would have been unable to reach the 7200 people we worked with during lockdown.”

PCC Kim McGuiness currently has a survey running on Fighting Crime and Preventing Crime, to help shape Northumbria Police’s plans for the next four years. If you think more needs to be done to tackle domestic abuse you can respond to the survey online by visiting http://bit.ly/PCPCon2020. The consultation closes on Friday 27 November.

 

 

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As we enter the second lockdown it’s a crucial moment in the North East’s fight against Covid.

The reasons why we need to stay home haven’t changed. We need to protect our NHS and we need to save lives, and your police force will enforce the rules with those who refuse to follow them.

I am thankful that the vast majority of people in our region have understood the need for the measures imposed so far, despite the poor communication from Government. I am also thankful to Northumbria Police. It goes without saying that renewed restrictions do place enormous strain on all our emergency services, who keep doing a great job rising to the challenge. None of this is easy for anyone.

When it comes to imposing the rules, our officers are keen to get the balance right but I make no apology for tough enforcement being used when it comes to keeping the people of our region safe. Public safety is priority.

Anyone responsible for holding parties or organising large gatherings are quite simply causing deliberate harm. Those attending these events need to be aware that they may be diverting officers away from other important actions, making it harder for the police to keep us safe.

Whether you’re supportive of the idea of a lockdown or not, the more we adhere to the rules, the more things will improve and the sooner we will all be out of restrictions. The message is simple, save the parties for when this is all over – then we’ve really got something to celebrate.

So in the meantime, I’ll continue calling for clarity on what happens after lockdown is lifted.  Let’s all keep doing out bit to protect each other – our family, friends and community. A lockdown isn’t worth having if we don’t all adhere to it. We’ve got a way to go yet but together we can help our great region get the virus under control.

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