Vera Baird

Banner Image of Vera Baird

Domestic and Sexual Abuse

Working together in Northumbria

We know the vast majority of domestic and sexual violence victims cannot speak out so we need to go to them. We need to locate victims out in their communities and offer support at an early stage. The Commissioner’s crime and disorder reduction grant has been provided to three local authority areas to pilot a ‘Domestic and Sexual Violence Champions Network’. The Champions Network aims to improve community and organisational responses to domestic violence and to provide training and assistance to enable front line staff to support to the standard and medium risk cases not picked up by specialist services. Through the project we now have over 170 champions trained across the public, private and community and voluntary sector providing support where it is needed; we have champions in places such as local councils, the police, health centres, solicitors and department stores.

Some of the ways i will continue to make a difference in 2017-18…

  • Influencing the content of the College of Policing national training product on VAWG;

  • Developing a Female Genital Mutilation Strategy and local action plan;

  • Developing a Criminal Justice Improvement Plan including specific actions to improve compliance with Domestic Violence Protocol and increase evidence led prosecutions;

  • Further training and roll out of new body worn cameras increasing evidence led prosecutions bringing more offenders to justice;

  • Investigating and targeting sexual exploitation of vulnerable adults and children; and

  • Strengthening support for victims of domestic abuse working with community and voluntary sector organisation that have received funding from the Victims Fund.

Working to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls is a priority and our strategy continues to develop. See our progress summary two years on by accessing the following link – Violence Against Women and Girls Two Years On

Domestic and Sexual Abuse – Message from Vera Baird

Domestic and sexual abuse happens mostly behind closed doors meaning that it is something of a hidden crime. Therefore it’s vitally important to raise awareness of what domestic abuse is, what help and support is available for those suffering from it, and making it easier for victims to contact someone to get help.

In my Police and Crime Plan I promised to make a difference by:

  • Taking an active personal lead on this issue

  • Developing an integrated regional strategy on all aspects of violence against women and girls (VAWG)

  • Ensuring victims of these crimes can report them in a straightforward way

  • Listening to victims and ensuring the right support is offered

  • Providing all high risk complainants with an experienced Independent Domestic/Sexual Violence Advisor.

  • Investigating all incidents of domestic and sexual abuse and identifying repeat victims and perpetrators.

  • Changing negative attitudes and behaviours and making early intervention the norm

  • Promoting active police monitoring of perpetrators.


During 2014-15 I have taken a personal lead on this issue and worked to deliver those promises and have…

  • PARTNERED with the Vulnerable Adults Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) pilot in Gateshead, incorporating Domestic Abuse and focusing on children who are living in a household where this occurs.

  • OVERSEEN the quality assurance of service standards for victims of rape and sexual exploitation by establishing a Rape Scrutiny Panel and a Court Observer Panel.

  • ESTABLISHED Operation Sanctuary, a multi-agency investigation into the sexual exloitation of children and vulnerable adults

  • TRAINED frontline officers to help them understand and recognise coercive and controlling behaviour in domestic abuse situations.

  • DELIVERED training to work-based champions to recognise, intervene and support employees who are suffering from domestic abuse. There are now over 600 Domestic and Sexual Violence champions in from the private and public sectors in our area. 

  • PROMOTED the ‘Children can learn by example’ campaign which ran over the festive period and prompted those involved in a domestically abusive relationship, whether as the victim or the perpetrator, to think about the effect their behaviour has on children living in the same house.

  • ENSURED Northumbria Police developed ways to protect victims and potential victims of sexual exploitation from harm.

See a summary of the progress we have made one year on by accessing the following link – Violence Against Women and Girls One Year On