Vera Baird

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Domestic and Sexual Abuse

Since I was elected in 2012 Domestic and Sexual Abuse has been one of my Police and Crime Plan priorities. Some of the successes in combating this issue are:


  • Introducing safeguarding training for security staff in Northumbria to strengthen their approach in protecting vulnerable people.

  • Creating a “Safe Haven” in the middle of city’s nightlife to be staffed by healthcare professionals, funded by the savings to be made on ambulance callouts.

  • Developing a regional strategy for women and girls in partnership with regional PCC’s and the North East Womens Network.

  • Establishing a network of Domestic and Sexual Abuse Champions across workplaces in Northumbria.

  • Promoting campaigns to encourage reporting of domestic violence.

  • Influencing the Governments approach to violence against women and girls, female genital mutilation and sexual offences sentencing guidelines.

  • Partnering with the Vulnerable Adults Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub pilot in Gateshead.

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

  • Establishing Operation Sanctuary, a multi-agency investigation into the sexual exploitation of children and adults.

  • Training frontline officers to help them understand and recognise coercive control and domestic abuse situations.

  • Providing funding to ‘Barnardos’ and Impact Family Services to work with perpetrators of Domestic Violence.

  • Continuing to support the Domestic Violence Support and Assistance (DVSA) car in Newcastle and Gateshead.

  • Launching a domestic abuse GPS proximity device pilot scheme utilising technology to alert a victim of DV if the perpetrator is in close proximity to them.

Much of the successes in reducing Domestic and Sexual Abuse in Northumbria has been down to working in partnership with local authorities, groups, individuals and organisations. Further information regarding this work can be found by accessing the links below:

Working Together to Reduce Domestic and Sexual Abuse in Northumbria 2013-14

Working Together to Reduce Domestic and Sexual Abuse in Northumbria 2014-15

Working Together to Reduce Domestic and Sexual Abuse in Northumbria 2015-16

What is Domestic and Sexual Abuse and what we are doing to reduce it


We have listened to your views and both adults and young people continue to believe that this is a very important issue that must be tackled. In Northumbria we have seen the highest increase in levels of reported domestic abuse and sexual violence crimes.

There are around 30,910 reports of domestic abuse in Northumbria each year, this equates to an average of 2,576 incidents per month and 2,216 victims every month. Levels of rape and other serious sexual assaults, often committed by partners or people known to their victims, are also high and unacceptable.

Although we are pleased that over the last four years we have raised public and professional awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence, these are shockingly high figures and it is clear more must be done to address and prevent this violence and abuse. We recognise that personalised support is needed for all victims of abuse and is key to longterm recovery.

We will refresh the integrated regional strategy already in place to tackle violence against women and girls. We will build on our successes. They include 350 Workplace Domestic Abuse Champions across Northumbria, offering support at work for people who are being abused at home. There are Domestic Violence Advice and Support Cars in every area at peak times, so that experienced domestic abuse support workers respond, with police, to 999 calls, maximising speedy support to victims.

My Commitment to Reducing Domestic and Sexual Abuse in the years to come


  • Listen to all cases of child sexual abuse, current or historic and respond in a way that supports the victim into long-term recovery from their experience.

  • Police will work with local specialist services to best understand the issues of adolescent/adult to parent abuse and will encourage reporting. An appropriate multi-agency response will be provided to safeguard those in need.

  • Earlier identification of child and adult sexual exploitation cases and provision of long-term support for victims to assist their recovery. We will raise both public and professional awareness of this issue so no case goes uncovered.

  • We will encourage increased reporting and provide an enhanced police response to victims who are isolated and marginalised, for example older victims, those in rural areas, those with a disability, from an ethnic minority background and those with mental health concerns. Support services will also be strengthened for these victims.

  • Police will better understand cyber stalking and harassment leading to improved identification of the crime and increased prosecutions.

  • Police will be pro-active in managing the most dangerous and harmful offenders, ensuring perpetrators receive support for behavioural change where appropriate.

  • Continue to strengthen the police response to this area of work through the introduction of a Domestic Abuse Scrutiny Panel to let members of the public scrutinise how cases have been managed and maximise continuous improvement.