How crime prevention work can help victims of domestic abuse
By Gerry McBride, Crime Prevention Officer - Cleveland Police
My name is Gerry McBride and I’m a crime prevention officer within the crime prevention team of Cleveland Police.
Our team receives written referrals for victims of domestic abuse, which could be from, a Police Officer, PCSO, Police Staff member, Social Worker, one of the Domestic Abuse organisations or a wide range of other stakeholders.
The next step is to make contact, usually by phone or text message to arrange a visit, where we will discuss Clare’s Law disclosure, personal safety and home security. We also demonstrate the excellent ‘Hollie Guard’ App, which can be downloaded free of charge for Windows, Apple or Android phones. This app turns your smartphone into an advanced personal safety device. Go here to check it out www.hollieguard.com
When I arrive, I know that I’m often dealing with someone with a range of complex issues. They will likely be suffering emotionally; their children may have witnessed or been victims of the abuse too.
I will carry out a security check of the property whilst I’m there, because we can access schemes which provide ‘target hardening’ services i.e. providing and installing extra physical security measures to the address. Occasionally I’m able to help by swapping a lock around or bringing a dormant burglar alarm back to life.
We work closely with the fire service, who will install fire prevention measures and also with individual and major social landlords to support the victim.
I ask what support they have in place currently, friends, family, their local GP etc. It’s important that they have others to help them through this difficult time. We can also refer into the various domestic abuse support organisations, so that hopefully, at such a chaotic time in their lives, that they can receive the much needed help that they need.
My aim is to leave the home with the individual feeling more positive about their situation. I want them to know that I take their situation seriously and will make suggestions as to what their next steps should be. I’m a good listener, and often the individual is grateful that someone is listening to what they have to say.
I feel rewarded after every visit when I’m thanked for coming along. I’m happy to have helped in some way, and hopefully played a small part in safeguarding the individual from further harm.
In all this gloom the victim has made the first vital step in their recovery: they are receiving help. A lot of victims stay in an abusive relationship because they can’t see a way out. There is a way and there are plenty of people who want to help.
Posted on Friday 30th November 2018