Hampshire’s crime boss pledges to cut domestic abuse

VOWS Simon Hayes speaking at the AGM of the Southern Domestic Abuse Service in Havant
VOWS Simon Hayes speaking at the AGM of the Southern Domestic Abuse Service in Havant
Waverley Road. Picture: Google Maps

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A COMMITMENT to reducing the number of victims of domestic abuse was made as the police and crime commissioner visited Havant.

Simon Hayes said domestic violence was high on his list of priorities.

His candid comments came as he was guest speaker at the annual general meeting of Southern Domestic Abuse Service, which is based in the town and used to be called Havant Women’s Aid.

More 90 members of the local community, politicians, community groups, and professionals attended the event.

Mr Hayes told The News: ‘I hope we can work together in future to deliver my agenda in terms of reducing domestic abuse.

‘I was quite impressed with their vision, particularly that they want to develop links with children who experience domestic abuse and witness domestic violence within the family unit.

‘We know that so many perpetrators of domestic violence actually experience or witness it themselves as young people. We need to break that cycle.’

Three measures are being used to help reduce the number of victims.

One is the use by police of body-worn video cameras – meaning crucial evidence can be gathered at the scene.

A pilot scheme has been launched in Southampton – and could come to the Portsmouth area – offering relationship counselling for couples. Most crucially, Mr Hayes wants to create an environment where victims feel comfortable to report incidents to the police.

Mr Hayes said: ‘We need to give witnesses confidence that if they come forward they will receive the support they need to stop it happening to them.

‘We know that over 50 per cent of domestic violence cases attended by the police don’t go any further.’

Claire Chatwin, managing director of Southern Domestic Abuse Service, said ‘We are very grateful to Mr Hayes for taking the time to attend this event.

‘The support we receive from the local community is vital to ensuring that specialist local domestic abuse support providers continue to thrive and are not marginalised in preference for national providers who do not ensure that local needs are met.’