New police guide: spotting domestic abuse before it is reported

Family|September 21st 2015

Police in England and Wales will now be trained to recognise domestic abuse before it is reported.

A newly published ‘Authorised Professional Practice’ (APP) by professional organisation the College of Policing details how to spot patterns of abuse and gather appropriate evidence without relying on the victim. According to the College, a domestic abuse victim is assaulted an average of 35 times before they call the police.

David Tucker is the College’s lead for crime and criminal justice. He called domestic abuse a “pervasive problem across the UK involving both men and women” and said that a “culture change” was required to successfully combat the issue.

Police sometimes “cannot understand why a victim would stay in an abusive relationship”, but there are “dozens of reasons why victims feel unable to leave or support prosecution” he added. The goal of the APP is to allow police to “investigate domestic abuse proactively”.

The new guidance includes a focus on coercive control, which is expected to become a criminal offence later this year.  This focuses on non-violent behaviour which is nonetheless abusive. Examples include putting restrictions on a partner’s personal or financial freedom.

Various charities have welcomed the introduction of the APP. Women’s Aid chief executive Polly Neate said it was “vital that police officers understand coercive control”. She said this would help identify victims and not blame them for staying in abusive relationships.

Diana Barran, the chief executive of SafeLives, also voiced her support for the new guidance. She called it “a huge step forward” which “places the responsibility for stopping the abuse squarely with the perpetrator”.

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  1. Luke says:

    “The new guidance includes a focus on coercive control, which is expected to become a criminal offence later this year. This focuses on non-violent behaviour which is nonetheless abusive. Examples include putting restrictions on a partner’s personal or financial freedom.
    An idea so stupid it is hard to believe that it is taken seriously. If this is implemented then according to the rules most of the wives and girlfriends of my friends and colleagues over the years will be getting criminal records 🙂

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Luke
      I don’t disagree. I think this will be a tough one and likely to lead to considerable injustice.

      • stitchedup says:

        Unfortunately Marilyn there has already been considerable injustice. Erin Pizzey predicted that feminism would eventually destroy the family and that is exactly what we are witnessing here. The definition of domestic abuse is now absurd and should never be allowed to be referred to as violence. Such intrusion into private family life has to be a breach of a persons human rights. Woman’s aid and the cps are constantly pushing for more prosecutions and the burden of proof is constantly being eroded to secure more convictions…. It is repugnant.

        • Suekay says:

          This is a rather interesting view point and I would like to suggest that perhaps this is one of the traditional reasons why domestic violence continues unscathed in many instances. Firstly the whole concept of marriage or a relationship is that two people have come together as caring partners with a mutual respect for each other. Let’s say for argument sake that you are in a business partnership and your partner allows you little or no say in running the business and insists on taking the lion share of the profit and you find out has also been appropriating company funds for him/herself should that remain a private matter with no recourse to justice in whatever sense it can be applied? Having just come out of an abusive relationship your views shake me to the core. Sadly your views are reflected by many others including the formal systems which are to help victims. Re your statement about violence, if you went down to the pub and were attacked; beaten, shot, knifed whatever are you saying that would not constitute violence and is in fact ok?

          • stitchedup says:

            You’ve totally missed the point Sue. Section 76 is primarily about coercive control not knifing, shooting or beating. Two people may indeed come together as caring partners with mutual respect buy that can change over time as incompatibility issues come to light or perhaps one partner decides to have a fling.

          • stitchedup says:

            Your analogy with business is absurd. Business is subject to commercial/business law, marriage is not. Relationships are based on love and affection not commercial terms, and their success often depends on each party having common goals and values. They often when differences become irreconcilable, i.e. They have different opinions so no longer share the same goals or values…eg one party wants to live for today the other save for tomorrow, or one party engages in infidelity. There is no law against spending for today, saving for tomorrow or indeed having an affair.

  2. Joe Walsh says:

    This law is going way too far into peoples relationship and we wonder why there is so much divorce, feminism is a billion $ industry, so if I tell my wife to stop playing the pokes when we go out for dinner because we have got bills to pay that can become a crime how ridiculous if you cant save money with your partner you will never have any financial freedom anyway.

  3. Dr Grumpy says:

    It is difficult for an abused man to be taken seriously when it comes to domestic abuse! I never ever bothered as I thought this was all due to PMS but as the rows and shouting became more frequent and then became violent what was there for me to do? The odds were stacked against me I’m 3″ taller and a black belt in karate so how could I be taken seriously?
    To get me out the house she said “leave now or I call the police and say you assaulted me!” in my state of health back then I packed a bag and left.

  4. Jo says:

    OK – here’s a situation, not typical, perhaps, but I’d be interested to know whether or not you think it would fall within the new legislation.

    First of all, imagine that two people got together and produced a child. It doesn’t take long – maybe twenty minutes? They are not in a relationship but nine months later a sprog appears. Now they have to deal with each other for the welfare of the child. Is this sufficiently ‘intimate’ for Section 76?

    One takes all the caring responsibility and the other does as much or as little as they feel like doing at the time. In the days before unmarried parents automatically got joint parental responsibility, the Non-resident Parent didn’t bother to apply for PR until the child was twelve years old.

    The NRP has twice been found guilty of diverting their income, by the First Tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber) in order to minimise their financial contributions and the Parent with Care has had one hell of a job getting the Child Support Agency to do their job adequately and in good time.

    The NRP actively and purposefully uses the system to create stress and uncertainty for the PWC. The PWC’s income can change a dozen times a year, sometimes without notice and always without the opportunity to present their case before the change is effected (usually downwards). On average it takes 3yrs to determine what the NRP should have been paying over that time and then the CSA gives them a further two years to repay the arrears, without interest, even if there is evidence that the NRP has a lifestyle that is totally incompatible with their declared income and they COULD clear the arrears immediately.

    Now, throughout all this the PWC cannot get a straight answer out of the NRP. When arranging for the child to see the NRP, the PWC cannot get the NRP to commit to anything until the last moment. Instead, text and email communication rapidly turn nasty with the NRP making vicious and personal comments to the PWC – threatening to have the child taken into care, making the PWC homeless and even going so far as to call the PWC a nutter and goading them into committing suicide! And then, the NRP will not communicate at all when the PWC would like their input regarding important decisions about the child’s education.

    The PWC cannot get the NRP to comply with court orders until they have to be enforced by the court, sometimes years later. And the NRP uses the court process to intimidate the PWC, even going as far as getting a unilateral, ‘prohibited steps order’ to prevent the PWC taking the child out of the country when a) the NRP has had a week’s notice of the PWC’s intentions b) the PWC had taken the child to visit friends abroad many times before, without requiring the NRP’s permission and c) the NRP did not have PR at the time!

    Note that I have not mentioned whether the NRP or PWC is male or female. Ignore that, it doesn’t matter. What do you think? Is the NRP controlling the PWC’s financial independence? Is the NRP abusing the PWC’s Human Rights?

  5. stitchedup says:

    No breach of human rights, perhaps somebody just being awkward. You can’t claim a breach of human rights just because a person doesn’t comply with your wishes or the wishes of the csa or courts for that matter. The csa and or the courts may well be breaching the human rights of the person you portray as being awkward

    • Jo says:

      It is a breach of Human Rights to seek to curtail someone’s financial independence. Please find out something about the new Act and why it is necessary. Then we might actually get a sensible discussion going, here.

      • Jo says:

        In fact, I would go so far as to say that this behaviour interferes with both the child’s and the PWC’s right to family life… in particular their ‘right to personal autonomy and physical and psychological integrity’

      • stitchedup says:

        You’re not looking for financial independence you’re looking for him to support you financially. If you want financial independence fend for yourself.

        • Jo says:

          I’m looking for the NRP to contribute the very bare minimum that they are required, by law, to contribute to the upkeep of their child without taking every opportunity that they can to make my life hell. I was financially-independent before we had a child – and I have devoted myself entirely to his child, entirely on my own from the very start. I do not expect anyone to support me, but neither do I expect to chase after a grown man to meet his responsibilities! However, if my child is to get the resources to which he is entitled, then that is what I, unfortunately, have to do.

          We are not talking £5 a week. We are talking at least £50K arrears, as it stands at present. Would you waive that kind of debt out of the kindness of your heart, even if it is actually your child’s money? No.

  6. Andrew says:

    What was that film about a society in which the police have a computer which can predict that somebody is going to commit a crime and run them in first?
    That’s what it sounds like to me.

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