POLICE and partnership agencies in the Derbyshire Dales are joining forces to offer a second online surgery for victims of domestic abuse.
Specially trained officers from the police, North Derbyshire Women’s Aid and Derbyshire Support and Advice for Men (DSAM) are holding a virtual forum on Thursday, January 12.
The aim is to provide victims of abuse or anyone concerned that friends or family could be involved in abuse a chance to come forward in confidence.
It is the second online surgery to take place as part of Operation Angel, a campaign launched by police to help raise awareness and prevent domestic abuse during the festive and New Year periods.
Operation Angel has been running since October, and was set up to tie in with a seasonal trend and peak in reports about domestic violence.
Insp. Bryan Hall who is in charge of policing in the Derbyshire Dales and is leading the initiative, said: “We held our the first online surgery as part of the operation back in November and had more than 30 people come to the site. Seventeen of those people actively spoke to the officers.
“Sometimes people can find it difficult to talk face-to-face about their concerns so we hope this virtual surgery will encourage victims not to suffer in silence and that more people will come forward and discuss domestic abuse.”
Many different agencies have been involved in the campaign, including Safer Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnership, which includes the police and Derbyshire Dales District Council.
Leader of Derbyshire Dales District Council, Councillor Lewis Rose OBE, who is also Chairman of the Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnership, said: “This online approach to offering support to victims of domestic abuse is a great idea. Every new individual we help in this way is a vindication of the online surgery.”
North Derbyshire Women’s Aid and Derbyshire Support and Advice for Men (DSAM) have provided information packs to support victims and also for cases where excessive drinking may have been a factor.
‘Stop Hurting, Start Talking’ posters, leaflets and stickers were provided by Derbyshire County Council and displayed in doctors surgeries, hospitals and pubs in the area and police officers have been wearing video ‘headcams’ whilst attending incidents of domestic violence to capture footage which could be used as evidence.
The online surgery will run between 10am and 3pm and people can access the chat by visiting www.derbyshire.police.uk and following the links from the homepage.
People can log on anonymously and chat about issues surrounding domestic abuse or send private messages to officers.
Anyone who is suffering domestic abuse or violence, or has any information about incidents, can also contact Derbyshire police by calling 101 except in an emergency when the number to dial is always 999.