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Police-NHS scheme helps 1,000-plus DA victims

A Lancashire Constabulary initiative in which independent domestic violence advocates (IDVAs) accompany officers responding to reports of domestic abuse has now supported more than 1,000 victims.

Operation Provide was launched March last year at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, when official government advice was to isolate and stay at home, to offer additional support to victims.

It continues to run in the Blackpool, Fylde, Wyre, Lancaster and Morecambe areas with IDVAs from the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on hand to support survivors and their children with immediate safety and long-term plans.

Lancashire police inspector Jon Smith said: “For a wide variety of reasons, victims are sometimes hesitant about speaking to the police and progressing criminal proceedings.

“Working in partnership with specialists from health, we are able to reach out to these victims, providing a substantial enhancement in the level of support available to vulnerable people in our communities.”

An independent evaluation of the project by Liverpool John Moores University showed the number of victims cooperating with prosecution increase to 41.3% from 14.4% and engaging with safeguarding advice going up to 67.2% from 21.5%.

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