Domestic abuse scheme to be rolled out to Essex schools

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A 40 per cent increase in the number of protection notices against domestic abuse perpetrators has shown Essex Police work to protect victims is working, the crime commissioner for Essex has said.

But Roger Hirst said that the police needed to be extra mindful of domestic abuse that is likely to have been hidden from the police due to the coronavirus lockdown.

He added this underpinned the need for operations to tackle domestic abuse – including the rollout of Operation Encompass which allows Essex Police to inform schools if a child has been present, or ordinarily resides, at an address where a medium risk domestic abuse incident has occurred.

It was launched as a pilot in Thurrock in January, but following positive feedback from schools it will be rolled out around the county during the 2020/21 academic year.

He said “We are all very aware that one of the things which is probably going to have been hidden during the lockdown is the level of domestic abuse.

“And a number of children have been lost to the system in the lockdown – kids in pupil referral units being reported as home schooling.

“We know we have to intervene well to get our arms around that and protect those vulnerable people.”

A total of 69 successful applications for domestic violence protection notices and orders, which prevent perpetrators from entering their home address, were granted by the courts between January and March this year – a 40.8 per cent increase compared with the same quarter the previous year.

Mr Hirst said: “That is a clear underpinning of the proactive approach we are taking to domestic abuse.

“We have spent a number of years putting in place programmes to provide better support to victims.

“And the objective of that was to help victims help and recover but also discover the scale of the issue we had across the county.

“I think it has done that.

“We have seen a very large increase in the level of reported domestic abuse across the county in that period which is what we were trying to achieve.

“We now feel we have a very good picture of the scale of the issue.

“It is now a question of reducing it.

“This is about dealing with perpetrators.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter