Officers across London are stepping up the work they do to protect victims of domestic abuse and violence in a special targeted 16 Days of Action starting yesterday, Thursday, 25 November.
Tackling domestic abuse is an absolute priority for the Metropolitan Police Service and they are committed to protecting those who are at risk wherever and however we can.
Detective Superintendent Matt Pilch, Lead Responsible Officer for Domestic Abuse, said: “This campaign is a global event and the Met is proud to be a part of it. We fully recognise concerns and fears around violence aimed at women and girls but we also recognise that domestic abuse can also affect men and deeply impacts victims and their families.”
The 16 Days of Action is an amplification of what goes on in the Met throughout the year to arrest perpetrators and protect victims of domestic abuse. It is also an extension of the work that officers do every day to ensure London is a safe place for women and girls to go about their daily lives without the fear of becoming victims of violent crime.
The enhanced activity will take place between Thursday, 25 November and Friday, 10 December and will encompass officers from teams across London.
The work will also be supported by the Predatory Offenders Units, which were set up a year ago to help tackle ‘high harm offenders’ who pose a risk to either adults or children. To date they have arrested over 2,500 offenders, with more than half being for domestic abuse offences.
Detective Superintendent Matt Pilch, added: “This year we will see partners back in police buildings supporting officers and victims, holding community groups and educating officers around their specific concerns and how best to respond.
“We recognise that we need to build public confidence, especially with victims of serious offences to come forward and be heard and supported so that police can remove violent offenders from our streets. Our work in this space will not stop after these 16 days but it is an ideal time to show to Londoners our efforts.
“It will also give officers a chance to raise awareness around the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme known as “Clare’s Law”. This gives anyone a right to ask the police if they believe that they or someone they know is in a relationship with an individual that could be abusive towards them.”
Clare’s Law is open to everyone regardless of gender or sexuality. The scheme was set up in 2014 after a campaign by the parents of Clare Wood who was strangled and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend.
Clare’s Law enables an applicant to get information from the police that will inform them if their partner or ex-partner has a history of violence. The request can be made online or at a police station.
Over the past 12 months there have been 1,379 right to ask applications from the public and 1,486 right to know obligations for police to inform a potential victim about their partner’s past.
Clare’s Law is an outstanding scheme which really can help ensure individuals who have concerns can be informed. We will not however wait where we have concerns, we will continue to proactively make disclosures to individuals where they need to be aware of prior domestic abuse offending.
A woman from London who applied under Clare’s Law after developing concerns about her partner today urged others with similar concerns to consider using the scheme. She said: “I recently made a Clare’s Law application that was processed by a Met Police officer. Not only was the officer professional and efficient, she demonstrated a level of interpersonal communication that made a huge difference to me.
“Making the application was a bit daunting and I had anticipated that it would be a case of having my identification checked and then being given a simple report of any record. It was very reassuring to find out that there was more to it than that and the assessment carried out by the officer was just as useful to me as was the final report about the person I was applying about.
“It was very significant as well that the officer approached the whole thing with sensitivity and empathy. Interestingly although the person I was enquiring about did not have anything to be reported, my conversation around my application highlighted some important red flags for me and so I wanted you to know the important work that is being done here. It’s not only around the application itself but some of the associated work which is making a real difference.”
Every day the Met are working closely with partners across the city to deliver a safe environment for women and girls to go about their daily lives without the fear of becoming victims of violent crime. They are continuing to work with domestic abuse practitioners to train frontline officers to ensure they can identify and gather evidence of coercive controlling behaviour and recognise perpetrators tactics to help protect those at risk, whenever and however we can.
Domestic abuse is an under-reported and largely hidden crime type and there is often an overlap between domestic abuse and violence in many forms – we would encourage victims of these to come forward and report offending to us.
Earlier this year the force launched online reporting of domestic abuse that enables victims, including those who may not be able to contact us via the telephone, visit a police station or have officers attend their home, to report matters in a fast and safe way.
Victims and third parties can report domestic abuse to a number of agencies and support services:
The 24/7 National Domestic Abuse helpline, which offers support to victims and people affected by domestic abuse, is free to call on 0808 2000 247.
The Respect Phone-line provides confidential advice and support to help perpetrators stop being violent and abusive, and is free to call 0808 8024040
Childline: 0800 1111 – If you’re a child or young person and domestic abuse is happening in your home or relationship.