News

Conference shares innovative approach for tackling domestic abuse

06 Jun 2016 15:00 PM

MASH event [View Full Size]
At a conference last week, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, introduced a line-up of safeguarding experts to update local professionals, who work with domestic abuse victims, on progress being made by Gateshead's Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
Commissioner Baird, who takes a personal lead on domestic abuse issues, secured funding to enhance the pre-existing MASH through the Police Innovation Fund. This enabled a collaborative project between Northumbria Police, Gateshead Council and other partner agencies to launch in November 2014. 
The vision of the MASH is 'to provide a single gateway for all safeguarding, domestic abuse and vulnerable victim referrals; to expedite the sharing of information in an efficient and consistent manner and to protect and safeguard the most vulnerable within the Borough'.
The MASH event aimed to provide an update on its effectiveness and look ahead to shaping MASH for the future and working with serial victims of domestic abuse. 
During the event, the audience heard how between April 2015 and March 2016, the MASH has helped 524 service users who have suffered domestic abuse and associated issues such as substance abuse and mental health issues.
Recognising that a large percentage of victims frequently get involved in a series of abusive relationships with different offenders and that these victims are suffering repeated abuse and harm, additional police innovation funding has also been secured to boost the MASH by using intelligent data analysis so help identify, tackle and safeguard serial victims. As a result of this, monthly rolling data has brought almost 400 serial victims of domestic abuse in the Gateshead area to the attention of the MASH.
Linking in with the theme of serial victims, leading sexualised trauma specialist, Zoe Lodrick, was also a guest speaker and she presented on 'How to Identify Serial Victims and Effect'.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, a long-term campaigner in the fight against domestic abuse, said: "There is some fantastic partnership work going on to help the vulnerable in our area and the Gateshead MASH is an example of this, strengthening the support  for victims of domestic abuse and their children.
 
"It is so important that all partners work together to implement a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach like this and following this pilot I hope to see this type of approach replicated elsewhere. Tackling domestic abuse has been a priority of mine since day one and it will continue to be - far too many people are suffering, in fact when we made the application for funding there were 2,600 serial victims of domestic abuse identified in the Northumbria area - we need to do all we can to put a stop to it."
Other speakers included the safeguarding department’s DCI Deborah Alderson and Supt Steve Barron, as well as Julie Crichton, MASH Business Manager, from Gateshead Council.
DCI Deborah Alderson, from Northumbria Police's Safeguarding Department, said: "The MASH has had some fantastic feedback from frontline officers and from partner agencies who are confident this joint approach is making a difference. By working closely with key partners and pooling our resources, we are working hard to save people from this incredibly harmful behaviour. Safeguarding domestic abuse victims and protecting their families are absolute priorities for Northumbria Police and we urge anyone with any concerns to please, seek help."
 
Julie Crichton, MASH Business Manager, from Gateshead Council, said: “This event was very well attended by partner agencies, showing the commitment that we all have in Gateshead to delivering these services to the most vulnerable people.  This project focuses upon serial victims of domestic abuse to try and tackle and safeguard serial  victims of domestic abuse accompanied by one to one support to move serial victims on from the cycle of victimisation , through better information sharing at the earliest opportunity."
If you suspect someone you know is suffering emotional or physical abuse call 0800 066 5555 for independent and confidential advice. In an emergency call 999.
photo:MASH Manager Julie Crichton, Gues speaker Zoe Lodrick and DCI Deborah Alderson