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Police Facebook group offers domestic abuse advice




Cambridgeshire police have been attempting to reach out to victims of domestic abuse over Facebook during lockdown.

They say the new online surgeries have been extremely well attended at a time when there was concern some other domestic violence services may have to close.

After a pilot of the online Q&A sessions over the summer, the force has now established regular monthly talks where people can ask questions about getting help. And the next event is this Friday (October 30).

Detective Inspector Dave Savill, who launched the scheme, said: “Facebook is good because people can use it without being overheard by a partner, and people can also ask questions for friends they may be worried about. It is quite an informal way of getting the information out there.

Police are hoping to be able to reach victims of domestic abuse via Facebook events
Police are hoping to be able to reach victims of domestic abuse via Facebook events

“We piloted the Facebook surgeries during lockdown as another way of reaching victims. There was a perception among victims that a lot of support services had shut so we wanted to get out there and have another means of contacting them.

“We examined what other forces were doing and Facebook looked like a good way of reaching people – Tik Tok is well over my head I’m afraid!

“We form a virtual panel during the meeting which also has children’s and mental health services onboard and so we can answer a wide range of questions. We have had very good feedback and we can see a huge increase of people coming to our Facebook page.

“We have noticed a significant rise in domestic abuse but actually the crimes have gone up a lot over the last five years. So, it’s not all because of Covid but it will have had an effect.”

The advice panels have been extremely popular and a discreet way to access information
The advice panels have been extremely popular and a discreet way to access information

This month’s theme for the panel will be focused on discussing and answering concerns around honour-based abuse. But Det Insp Savill explained that all questions about domestic abuse will be answered.

To ask a question, visit the Cambridgeshire police Facebook page and simply post the question from 5.45pm on Friday. The team of safeguarding experts will be on hand to comment and answer straight away.

Alternatively, you can ask us a question in private by direct messaging Cambridgeshire police in Facebook Messenger. The panel runs from 6pm to 7pm.

Members of the public can also apply for information about their partner’s history of domestic abuse online via the force’s website. The aim is to share information with individuals who may be at risk of harm in order to prevent them from becoming a victim of abuse.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as Clare’s Law, is named after Clare Wood who was murdered in Salford in 2009 by her ex-boyfriend who had a history of violence against women.

Detective Inspector Sherrie Nash said: “We work closely with applicants and ensure appropriate safeguarding is in place in order to prevent them from becoming a victim of domestic abuse.

Visit cambs.police.uk/apply/Clares-Law.



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