South Yorkshire Police responds to report on domestic abuse during pandemic
South Yorkshire Police has welcomed a report by inspectors which found that forces responded proactively to prevent domestic abuse and protect victims during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Inspectors analysed how police forces responded to domestic abuse when victims were forced to remain under the same roofs as their abusers when lockdown measures were introduced.
Detective Superintendent Dave Cowley said: “We, like other forces, were quick to understand how Covid-19 might increase the risk to those in abusive relationships and enhanced measures and processes were swiftly established.
“As we all got used to changes to our lives, it was clear that not everyone’s ‘bubble’ would be a place of safety and comfort.
“In the early days of the pandemic we introduced a dedicated reporting tool, specifically for domestic abuse incidents and we issued clear messaging to let the public know where they could seek help.
“Our officers and investigative staff have worked hard to ensure investigations continued at pace, with additional communication with victims taking place. Elsewhere in the force, call handlers have received enhanced training around assessing calls and the deployment of officers where they have concerns about safety.
“On the frontline, our local teams have been quick to spread messages about support available and have maintained links with vulnerable groups.”
Supt Cowley added: “Work with partners has been more important than ever and increased use of technology has seen us streamline and speed up some processes around referrals.
“During this period, we have also invested in enhanced domestic abuse training for all frontline responders, with a particular focus on coercive and controlling behaviour. This training has been vital in strengthening our response to different types of abuse, including psychological and financial.”
In an emergency victims or witnesses are urged to dial 999, but victims unable to speak without alerting perpetrators to their call for help should dial 999 and then use the silent solution’ technique.
The operator will ask a series of questions and may ask callers to cough, make a noise or press a button on their phone to demonstrate that they are listening to them.
Callers will then be asked to press '55' on their keypad, which alerts the operator that urgent help is required.
The operator will then listen in and make an assessment about what type of response is required.