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On 16 October 2015 I was honoured to join DCI Steve Jackson, the College of Police and many other organisations dedicated to tackling domestic abuse at the National Domestic Abuse Champions award in central London. It was an incredible event to be a part of, learning how organisations are innovating, collaborating and making progress to tackle the violence that goes on in our homes, schools and communities on a daily basis.
Peace Day, 21 September, is a day of ceasefire and non-violence and it is not just for areas of conflict. Research undertaken by the Copenhagen Consensus Centre outlines that 98% of all violence takes places in our homes, schools, workplaces, while at the same time estimating that the global cost of domestic violence against women and children is more than $8 trillion a year. This demonstrates that work tackling domestic abuse is at the very core of what the day stands for.
On Peace Day, the College of Police, with the backing of domestic abuse and women’s charities released the Authorised Professional Practice, which offers police forces in England and Wales new guidance on tackling domestic abuse.
Key developments include:
- Emphasizing the importance of solely evidence-led prosecutions instead of relying on victims to build the case;
- Addressing the responsibilities of senior officers to maintain a body of specialist officers to deal with cases of abuse;
- Ensuring pathways to support for victims are clear;
- Focusing on the dynamics of abusive relationships and coercive control, a new offence expected to come into force later this year.
The College of Police have also created a toolkit to support first responders, along with checklists for call handlers and front counter staff when contacted about domestic abuse.
These resources have been issued to all police forces in England and Wales and we believe this is a powerful and practical step forward to ensure domestic abuse can be stopped in communities across the country.
The support of the police forces across England and Wales to Peace Day has truly been remarkable, to date, 46 police forces from England and Wales have joined the Peace One Day ‘Reducing Domestic Abuse’ Coalition. Learn more about the Reducing Domestic Abuse coalition.
Peace Day is a window of opportunity for substantial action such as this and by working together on 21 September, we can build peace one day at a time.