Domestic Abuse Safeguarding Car trial starts in Cornwall

Devon & Cornwall Police have partnered with First Light and have begun trialling a new approach to enhance support for the most high-risk domestic abuse victims across Cornwall

The dedicated unmarked vehicle will see an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) and a plain clothes police officer deployed together to a domestic abuse incident. This will provide an immediate response to incidents of domestic abuse at the most critical point and allows the officers in attendance to provide the best support to the victim, whilst at the same time enable officers to gather quality evidence of offences and to provide a thorough risk assessment.

The first weekend was a success with the vehicle deployed to three incidents in Cornwall.  One of the victims didn’t want to speak to the initial officers who were sent to the scene. The safeguarding team were dispatched and spent nearly two hours with the victim at the scene taking a statement and completing a full risk assessment. The team also attended a high risk incident in which the IDVA deployed had previously worked with the victim and had built a rapport which helped bring a charge against the suspect who was remanded in custody.

Mel Francis, Service Manager at First Light said: “We are excited to be working in collaboration with the police on this innovative pilot.  The Safeguarding Car gives us the opportunity to speak, listen and offer support and advice to victims at the earliest opportunity.  We will be able to provide a more holistic approach, enabling victims to access support for their needs as well as safety.  Hopefully enabling them to gain confidence to access support in the future and be empowered to make change.’’

The Safeguarding Car will work between 4pm and 2am Friday’s and Saturdays.

This initial trial in Cornwall will run for three months and will be evaluated by an independent consultative review.