We have the team, now for the tactics - your chance to have a say on how Herts domestic abuse squad goes about its work

Herts police and crime commissioner David Lloyd, County Hall cabinet member Councillor Richard Thake

Herts police and crime commissioner David Lloyd, County Hall cabinet member Councillor Richard Thake and deputy chief constable Michelle Dunn at the new domestic abuse unit in Hatfield. - Credit: Archant

A pilot project to help men who abuse their partners change their ways has been such a success that it’s being expanded across Herts – and a scheme to help women who commit similar crimes is being set up, too.

Those are two of the developments being highlighted by the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership, which is calling for feedback from the public to make sure their mission is heading in the right direction.

The partnership team – which includes representatives from the police, local authorites, health services and charities – published a draft strategy for public consultation on Friday and wants to know what you think.

The strategy was launched at the headquarters of the new specialist Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit, which started work earlier this month and is made up of a team of more than 60 specialist police officers and staff handling domestic abuse cases from all over the county.

The draft strategy includes commitments to prevent domestic abuse happening in the first place by challenging the attitudes and behaviours which foster it, and intervening early where possible to prevent it, as well as reducing the risk to victims, making sure those who commit crimes are held to account, and ensuring that support is available to those who need it.

The new strategy follows on from a report into the state of domestic abuse services in Hertfordshire ordered by police and crime commissioner David Lloyd.

He said: “I have made tackling domestic abuse a top priority and the launch of this strategy is an important part of delivering that.

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“I am delighted that all of the key agencies are now working more closely together to deal with this horrible crime and I am confident it will result in fewer victims and better services for those who are affected.”

Councillor Richard Thake, Herts County Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “Some of the improvements we’ve made over the last year are already making a real difference.

“Our pilot programme to help men who abuse their partners change their ways is clearly having a positive impact – so much so that we’re expanding it to other parts of the county at the same time as launching a scheme to help female perpetrators

“We think this strategy will give us the solid basis we need to tackle domestic abuse together, but we’re keen to hear what the public think.

“I’d encourage anyone, whether they’ve been affected by domestic abuse or not, to let us know if what we’re planning is what they and their community need.”

Jenny Coles, who chairs Hertfordshire’s Domestic Abuse Executive Board, said: “We’ve really improved the way different organisations work together over the last year.

“This joint strategy will help us provide even better support to victims, both male and female. It will also help support children who witness domestic abuse in the home, who can be badly affected by the experience.

“Our draft strategy is all about preventing domestic abuse in the first place and intervening as early as possible where there is a problem.”

Deputy chief constable Michelle Dunn of Herts police said: “Domestic abuse is an appalling crime which shatters lives.

“We welcome this consultation and we have already introduced some significant changes including the introduction of our specialist safeguarding unit.

“We will listen very carefully along with our partners to what the public have to say to us and will act on that information.”

You can read the strategy in full at www.hertsdirect.org/dastrategy and responses must be received by Monday, March 21.

For help and advice on domestic abuse visit www.hertssunflower.org or call 08088 088 088