PLANS to ‘seize the crisis moment’ and improve the service offered to victims of domestic abuse, by putting specialists in police control rooms, have now gone live with the support of Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness.

The new initiative funded by the PCC’s office, will benefit victims across the whole of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and is a first for Northumbria Police.

Designed to improve the overall victim experience, the new approach means specialists from North East services Wearside Women in Need and Harbour are now on hand to support victims during identified peak times – namely busy weekend nights.

The experienced domestic abuse service staff team up with officers in the control room to assist at the key moment when the victim has taken the first step in reporting an incident to the police.

They are there to use their knowledge around risk and need and advise the victim on the best help and support options.

Northumbria Police receives on average 70 reports of domestic abuse per day, a number which often rises during the holidays.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “We have to protect the vulnerable and we know that the sooner a victim engages with specialist support services they are more likely to get the help they need. Having these specialists on hand supporting our police means we can seize the opportunity right from the off, at their moment of crisis, and by having that early intervention, we can stop things escalating.”

Kim added: “The more joined up we make the response when people reach out, the better, and the more likely they are to call the police in future if needed – that’s what we want. Anything that increases the chance of a victim taking up specialist support is worth doing and this can really improve lives for both victims and their children.”

Supt Lisa Laverick, from Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding Department, said: “Protecting people who are vulnerable is our number one priority and this includes victims of domestic abuse.

“This initiative builds on the work already underway with partners to further help ensure victims receive the support they need.

“I would urge anyone who has been subjected to such abuse to come forward – we are here for you.

“As well as supporting and safeguarding victims, we are absolutely committed to pursuing offenders and bringing them to justice.”

Helen Slimin from Wearside Women in Need, said: “We are looking forward to being part of an innovative project with our partners which will support victims of Domestic Abuse, aiming to keep them and their children safe. It is an opportunity to offer advice and support at crisis point and we welcome the opportunity to do this.”

Lesley Gibson, Chief Executive of Harbour said: “We welcome closer partnership working between the specialist voluntary sector and the Police to get victims of domestic abuse the information and support they need when they need it. By working together we combine our skills and expertise and that will provide a better response for victims.”

If you need any advice or support, please don’t hesitate to contact Northumbria Police via their discrete ‘Tell Us Something’ page on their website, which has an instant ‘hide page’ function.

You can also reach out to one of the fantastic partner agencies who can help offer advice and support. Contact the freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247 or again search the Northumbria Police website.

Always call 999 in an emergency.