A thousand domestic abuse victims helped by Beacon Safeguarding Hub
More than 1,000 domestic abuse victims have been contacted across Hertfordshire by the new multi-agency team, with over half accessing further help and support.

Supported and funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner the Beacon Safeguarding Hub was launched in May as a pilot scheme and it is based at the Domestic Abuse and Safeguarding Unit (DAISU) at Hatfield Police Station.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: “This is excellent news that the hub is already making a real positive difference to people’s lives. Victims are being given practical help to enable them to escape the abuse, while more offenders are being arrested.

“The Safeguarding Hub is a further expansion of the services offered by our nationally recognised Beacon Victim Care Centre and delivers on the strong commitment in my Community Safety and Criminal Justice plan to improve the support available to victims of crime in Hertfordshire.

“This early success shows there is a need for this service, particularly as we have seen a rise in domestic abuse during the COVID-19 crisis.”

The Beacon Victim Care Centre, launched in 2015, offers support services to all victims of crime in Hertfordshire. Adding to this service, the new safeguarding hub now triages the majority of reports of domestic abuse to police and proactively contacts victims offering support. From there victims can be referred to an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor, get advice on injunctions or refuges, or get other practical or emotional support.” 

Detective Chief Inspector Ben Wright who heads up the DAISU said: “Without a doubt, this unit has been a lifeline for many victims of domestic abuse who may not have contacted police or other support services."

“In all likelihood, they would have been exposed to further harm and repeat victimisation. The hub was launched during lockdown in May when victims may have been more exposed to controlling and coercive relationships with added pressures of lockdown putting more people at risk of abuse, including emotional and financial abuse.”

“The uptake of support has surpassed all expectations and is growing week on week. In the region of 125 more Hertfordshire domestic abuse victims are now benefitting from a dedicated, needs-assessed service every month.”

DCI Wright added: “We have already seen some excellent results from the pilot which has helped victims move on and recover from abusive relationships, whilst also reducing risk to the victim and improving attrition rates in prosecutions. 

“Our priority is safeguarding victims and although we will do everything we can to get offenders to court, it is not always possible. Despite this there are other avenues of support that can be offered to victims that can help change their lives for the better.”

Some examples of support offered to victims include:

A vulnerable victim was unable to seek help due to the controlling and coercive relationship but thanks to intervention from the hub she and her two children were taken to a place of safety.  She later disclosed that she had been forced to have sex with different men to conceive her second child. Her husband was arrested for coercive and controlling behaviour.  He is currently on police bail and the case is still being investigated.

A male victim of domestic assault had been living in his car for a week after his partner threw him out of their address. The victim tried to speak to the council to be re-housed however previous attempts made by the victim to be re-housed were unsuccessful. After contacting the hub, he was re-housed the same day. The victim was very grateful for the support and was referred to Mankind.  

A mother of two reported historic assaults by her husband. She was in fear and initially did not support a prosecution because she was financially dependent on him. Her husband was working from home due to lockdown and the victim felt trapped and was unable to speak with police as he was always present. She was able to arrange a time when it was safe for her to speak and provided a statement which resulted in her husband’s immediate arrest.  He was released without charge, however the victim accepted a referral to Catch 22 for ongoing emotional support and was planning separation from her husband.