The findings from the National Rural Crime Network report highlight the particular characteristics of this crime in rural areas, which has provided “invaluable” learning for agencies in Lincolnshire.
Unveiled yesterday (Wednesday) after an 18-month-research project, the report identifies a number of areas of vulnerability for victims, and also identified Lincolnshire as a “leading edge” in tackling the issue.
The areas of vulnerability include:
○ Individuals in rural areas do not have support services on their doorstep, meaning it can be harder for them to seek and access help.
○ People living in rural areas may feel isolated, which can lead them to feeling trapped in an abusive situation.
○ Often rural communities are close-knit, meaning people may find it harder to speak out and ask for help.
○ Access to education and information is sometimes more sparse in rural areas, so knowledge of how to seek help is not as easy to attain for people who endure domestic abuse.
In Lincolnshire, the report praised the county for its partnership approach - the Police and Crime Commissioner, Lincolnshire County Council, and Lincolnshire Police have a close working relationship in relation to responding to domestic abuse, looking at how the specialist services are commissioned, information sharing, and working with a wide range of agencies who have contact with people who may be ‘hidden’ from obvious sight. In addition, police officers have been and will continue to be trained to a high level in order to recognise signs of domestic abuse that may not always be easy to spot. The services in Lincolnshire are praised as being at the “leading edge of innovative and evidence led commissioning”.
It also commended the county’s approach to evidence and data led commissioning - used to ensure the right services are delivered in the right places – and described Lincolnshire as a “leader in this way of thinking”.
“The support we offer to all victims of crime is an absolute priority for me and I have spent a great deal of time and energy focused on improving them,” said Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire, Marc Jones.
“Working together with partners, using evidence to focus our efforts and effective and efficient commissioning of services have all been crucial in the changes made since I took office.
“I am delighted that those efforts and those of our partners have been recognised as leading the way across the UK, and this will only drive us forward in continuing our work to ensure those people trapped in the nightmare cycle of abuse can be helped and supported to escape and heal.”
Jade Sullivan, Domestic Abuse Lead for the Safer Lincolnshire Partnership, said: “We are heartened that report has recognised the innovative work we have done in Lincolnshire to help the victims of domestic abuse.
“We also welcome the help the report offers in terms of improving those services further. We are determined to build upon the work we have done so far and provide the best possible support for those people in Lincolnshire who desperately need our help.”
Assistant Chief Constable Kerrin Wilson, Lincolnshire Police, said: “Domestic abuse is everybody’s business. What this report shows is not only the devastating impact on victims and families, but also what we can do to better help those enduring this horrendous crime but those who are looking for avenues by which they can access help. The learning the survey has given us is invaluable.
“I’m glad that we are ahead of other areas but we are never complacent, we will take on board the two recommendations that the report has identified and make sure we act on them. We still have so much to do to educate people and prevent abusers from continuing to commit this awful crime.”
If you are struggling and want to access support or simply seek advice, contact EDAN Lincs, the county’s Domestic Abuse Specialist Service. Call 01522 510041 or visit their website for more information www.edanlincs.org.uk/