More than 1,000 domestic abuse victims helped by Lancashire Police after Operation Provide launched
An initiative which sees officers responding to domestic abuse reports alongside a trained NHS specialist has now supported over 1,000 victims across Lancashire.
Operation Provide was launched at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the advice was to stay at home, with the aim of providing additional support to victims.
It runs across Blackpool, Fylde, Wyre, Lancaster and Morecambe and sees independent domestic violence advocates (IDVAs) from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on hand to support victims and their children with immediate safety and long-term plans. There are now a total of six IDVAs involved with the scheme.
Additional funding from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Ministry of Justice, supported by Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner, will allow the initiative to continue to run for another two years.
Insp Jon Smith, from Lancashire Constabulary, said: "Domestic abuse is a largely hidden crime, occurring primarily at home. For a wide variety of reasons, victims are sometimes hesitant about speaking to the police and progressing criminal proceedings.
"Working in partnership with specialists from health, we are able to reach out to these victims, providing a substantial enhancement in the level of support available to vulnerable people in our communities.
"We are here to help if victims need support. I would urge friends, family and neighbours to let us know if you think someone might be suffering. Please don't ignore it."
An independent study into the project by Liverpool John Moores University has shown the number of victims engaging with safeguarding advice has increased dramatically from 21.5 per cent to 67.2 per cent.
It also shows the number of victims prosecuting their partners has gone up from 14.4 per cent to 41.3 per cent.
Hazel Gregory, Head of Safeguarding at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: "The Trust has worked with more than 1,000 victims, protecting them immediately after an incident and ensuring they have the support they need with our police colleagues and key partners.
"We will continue to work to transform the response to domestic abuse, to prevent further harm and reduce offending."
There are a total of six health IDVAs dedicated to the operation.
The initiative won the Patient Safety Improvement category at the Nursing Times Awards 2020, with judges stating it was "creative, innovative and replicable".
You can report domestic abuse online at lancashire.police.uk/reportcrime or by calling 101.
If someone is at risk of immediate harm, dial 999.
If you are unable to speak on the phone, you can ring 999 from a landline and respond by coughing or tapping the handset, pressing '55' when prompted by the operator.
This lets the 999 call operator know that it's an emergency and you aren't safe to speak.
For more information and details of the help and support agencies available in Lancashire visit www.noexcuseforabuse.co.uk.
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