Domestic abuse remains an absolute priority for Hertfordshire Constabulary which is ever more important now during the latest lockdown measures we are all facing. To further support and safeguard those experiencing domestic abuse, the Constabulary has teamed up with the Domestic Abuse Alliance, which offers specialist legal advice and support.
The free WEPROTECT instant victim referral app, which has already been trialled in Watford, Three Rivers (since February 2020), St Albans and Dacorum (since October 2020), will be rolled out to all frontline officers across the force from Monday 11 January.
Hertfordshire Constabulary is one of the first forces in the country to use the app and partner up with the DA Alliance.
Head of the Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (DAISU), Detective Chief Inspector Ben Wright, said: ‘We have already seen the success of the WE PROTECT app across half of the county, with hundreds of victims being safeguarded from further harm. We are pleased that officers across the rest of the county can now benefit from instant legal access to help victims of domestic abuse. This is especially important at the moment with the latest Covid-19 restrictions in place, making many people within our community more vulnerable to domestic abuse. It is vitally important that those suffering from abuse get the right help and support alongside our police investigations.’
Once a referral is made, the victim will be given a dedicated domestic abuse advisor who, working alongside any criminal proceedings, will be able to put safeguarding measures in place including non-molestation and child protection orders as well as offering legal advice.
He said: ‘The service will be available for all those experiencing domestic abuse and is a welcome additional level of safeguarding. The DA Alliance further supports the work already being done by DAISU and they work closely with our existing DA partners including Independent Domestic Abuse Advisors (IDVAs) and Herts refuges.’
He added: ‘Our message to domestic abuse victims is the same – If home isn’t safe, we’re here to help. Regardless of your circumstances, if you are experiencing domestic abuse, support is very much available for you and your children.’
Razi Hassan, Director of Partnerships for the Domestic Abuse (DA) Alliance said: ‘We’re delighted that following a successful pilot phase Hertfordshire Constabulary has decided to roll out use of our WEPROTECT app across the county.
‘This means anyone experiencing domestic abuse in Hertfordshire can now request a referral to our free legal support service, to help them secure vital legal protection.
‘Sadly, we know that Covid-19 has resulted in an escalation of domestic abuse incidents across the UK, with many survivors only able to seek help once lockdown restrictions ease. Now, more than ever, access to legal support can provide a lifeline to those who are desperately trying to escape their abuser.’
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse in Hertfordshire, call Hertfordshire’s Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy service on 0300 790 6772 for advice, support and access to services. Information on services available can also be found at hertssunflower.org. In an emergency, always call 999. If you are afraid or unable to speak, call 999 from a mobile and press 5, 5.