Domestic abuse training for Gloucestershire Police officers

Rear view of a woman sitting on her bed looking out the window
The new programme will enable officers to spot patterns of domestic abuse

Specialist training is being given to police officers on how to better help victims of domestic abuse.

Gloucestershire Police has been rolling out the training to first responders since 31 October, in a course delivered by UK charity SafeLives.

The move has been welcomed by the Hollie Gazzard Trust, which campaigns to reduce domestic violence.

It said police training "plays a vital role" ensuring officers can identify abuse and take "necessary actions".

SafeLives programme lead for Domestic Abuse Matters, Pete Williams, said the course seeks to change attitudes and help officers understand what victims really need.

"When officers understand what victims need they know how to support them better," he added.

"Then victims feel believed and are more likely to call the police again."

A photo of the exterior of Gloucestershire Constabulary HQ
Officers will learn how to respond effectively to abuse cases involving older people and male victims

Domestic abuse describes a range of behaviours including physical or sexual abuse, violent or threatening behaviour, controlling or coercive behaviour as well as digital, economic, psychological and emotional abuse.

The training will enable police officers and staff to spot patterns of domestic abuse, learn how to understand perpetrators and recognise the tactics they may use such as controlling and coercive behaviour.

Officers will also learn how to respond effectively to abuse cases involving older people and male victims.

Hollie Gazzard
Hollie Gazzard's killer was jailed for 24 years in 2014

The Hollie Gazzard Trust was created following the murder of 20-year-old Ms Gazzard in 2014 by an ex-partner.

Her father, Nick Gazzard, said: "When someone reaches out for help, it is crucial that the authorities are equipped with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively and compassionately.

"Police training plays a vital role in ensuring that officers are able to identify signs of abuse, provide support, and take the necessary actions to protect those in danger."

The programme will continue through to the end of March 2024, in line with the force's commitment to reducing violence and intimidation against women and girls.

Det Ch Supt Suzanne Baker, from Gloucestershire Police, said: "Our victims and communities are at the heart of everything we do and we must ensure we do all we can to protect the most vulnerable by effectively investigating crimes of this nature and safeguarding those victims."

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, there are a list of organisations that may be able to help at BBC Action Line.

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