Police commissioner pledges support for domestic abuse initiative

THE newly-elected police and crime commissioner for County Durham has pledged to make tackling domestic abuse one of his top priorities, winning him praise from a local women’s refuge.

Ron Hogg, who was elected as Labour commissioner for County Durham last month, said he would make community engagement, domestic abuse and hate crime his top three issues during his term of office.

Mr Hogg’s commitment to raising the profile of domestic abuse against both genders, but particularly crimes against women and girls, has won him the backing of Family Help, a charity that helps women and families across Darlington and South Durham.

Susan Degnan, manager of the charity, said Mr Hogg’s high profile could be vital to helping victims of domestic abuse get the support they deserve, as well as raising attention about the work of women’s refuges and charities.

Mr Hogg, who started his police career as a beat officer before rising to senior positions in both Durham and Cleveland Police, said: “For a long time, going back to the early 90s, I recognised just how serious the issue of domestic abuse is.

“Right throughout my career domestic abuse policy is something I’ve had a focus on. The view I’ve always taken is this – I might get assaulted in the middle of the street, but I don’t have to go home with the person who hit me. It’s about power and abuse of that power.

“It’s one of the most insidious and worst crimes out there and it’s a crime that is not easily reported. Most victims go through about 40 incidents before they contact the police for the first time.”

Mr Hogg said that up to 20 per cent of 999 calls are related to domestic abuse, and that one third of all calls received by Durham Police involve domestic violence.

For Susan Degnan, whose organisation is gearing up for one of its busiest periods, the support of someone like Mr Hogg is vital.

She said: “We’ve invited Mr Hogg to a meeting of all the different agencies across the area that work together to tackle domestic abuse and help victims and families. Having someone like him speak out about domestic abuse will be great and we are keen to hear how he will implement it.”

For advice, support and emergency help over the Christmas period, contact one of the organisations below: - Domestic abuse helpline: 01325-364486 - Rape Crisis (Darlington and Durham): 01325-354119 - Sanctuary Housing (outreach support, Darlington only): 01325-463141 - The Harbour Agency: 0845-6027308 - Victim Support: 0191-2810491 - LGBT support: 01325-355551 - Samaritans: 01325-465465 - National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808-2000-247 - My Sister’s Place, Middlesbrough (not 24 hours): 01642-241864 - Domestic Abuse Outreach – Durham: 0191-375-3689

Comments (3)

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5:23pm Sun 23 Dec 12

stevegg says...

Tough talk in an IDEAL world. Lets hope there are sufficient resources in place and its not at the expense of 'lesser' crimes or is he just telling the public what they want to hear! When he was a serving police officer his generation of police officers largely ignored domestic violence saying it was a private matter!
Tough talk in an IDEAL world. Lets hope there are sufficient resources in place and its not at the expense of 'lesser' crimes or is he just telling the public what they want to hear! When he was a serving police officer his generation of police officers largely ignored domestic violence saying it was a private matter! stevegg

8:46pm Sun 23 Dec 12

Bambooflyrod says...

Stevegg I wholeheartedly agree with the first part of your comment however I must point out on the second part, that Officers of his generation did not simply ignore domestic violence.
The fact is that until fairly recent times, there was no or very little legislation to act upon. A wife could not be compelled to give evidence against her husband and indeed the other way around too. It was very rare for a spouse to give a statement in respect of domestic violence and stick to it and follow through to court.
In respect of assault, unless of a very serious nature, the same applied. Common assault, whether it be husband on wife or public on public was a civil matter. The only way in which a husband (usually, although not always the husband was the guilty party,) could be arrested when Police were called was if a Breach of the Peace occurred and that had to happen in the presence of the Officer and not after the event. So unless he/she kicked off whilst the officer was there, again, very little could be done.
That was simply the Law and sadly it remained that way for many years until long overdue changes were made to legislation and support from other agencies was made available.
Thankfully times change and as I said, the laws protecting victims made strong enough to be effective. It is too easy and simple to accuse Police and in other agencies of ignoring the issue whereas the truth was, their hands were tied by LACK of legislation.
Stevegg I wholeheartedly agree with the first part of your comment however I must point out on the second part, that Officers of his generation did not simply ignore domestic violence. The fact is that until fairly recent times, there was no or very little legislation to act upon. A wife could not be compelled to give evidence against her husband and indeed the other way around too. It was very rare for a spouse to give a statement in respect of domestic violence and stick to it and follow through to court. In respect of assault, unless of a very serious nature, the same applied. Common assault, whether it be husband on wife or public on public was a civil matter. The only way in which a husband (usually, although not always the husband was the guilty party,) could be arrested when Police were called was if a Breach of the Peace occurred and that had to happen in the presence of the Officer and not after the event. So unless he/she kicked off whilst the officer was there, again, very little could be done. That was simply the Law and sadly it remained that way for many years until long overdue changes were made to legislation and support from other agencies was made available. Thankfully times change and as I said, the laws protecting victims made strong enough to be effective. It is too easy and simple to accuse Police and in other agencies of ignoring the issue whereas the truth was, their hands were tied by LACK of legislation. Bambooflyrod

9:10am Mon 24 Dec 12

John Justice says...

I agree with your comments Bambooflyrod. Domestic violence was and still is a major problem and one that can be difficult to understand by the ordinary lay person. In fact "The Northern Echo" reported on the 21st inst about a woman escaping a jail sentence after stabbing her boyfriend. Due in part to changes in the law the Police were able to prosecute her. Due to the apparent reluctance of the victim to give evidence she escaped a possible jail sentence. The case shows that domestic violence can be complex due to the personal relationships involved but also shows legislation is in place to combat the problem from a legal approach by the Police.
I agree with your comments Bambooflyrod. Domestic violence was and still is a major problem and one that can be difficult to understand by the ordinary lay person. In fact "The Northern Echo" reported on the 21st inst about a woman escaping a jail sentence after stabbing her boyfriend. Due in part to changes in the law the Police were able to prosecute her. Due to the apparent reluctance of the victim to give evidence she escaped a possible jail sentence. The case shows that domestic violence can be complex due to the personal relationships involved but also shows legislation is in place to combat the problem from a legal approach by the Police. John Justice

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