Northumbria Police deploy independent domestic violence advisers to support victims during the Euros

Chloe, one of the Northumbria Police Independent Domestic Violence Advisers that are supporting victims during the Euros
-Credit: (Image: Northumbria Police)

A police force has deployed independent domestic violence advisers to support victims during the Euros. Operation Flagship is a national operation to tackle domestic abuse during the tournament.

Chloe is one of 12 IDVAs working in the Northumbria Police force area, and her work has two main strands; protecting vulnerable victims and targeting perpetrators. As part of Chloe’s role, she supports those who’ve experienced any form of domestic abuse by bridging the gap between survivors and other agencies.

IDVAs work in a completely victim-led and victim-focussed way, providing support and advice to reduce the risk posed by a perpetrator. Chloe and other IDVAs in the region have been paired up with response officers to form ‘IDVA cars’ where they will be present at domestic abuse-related callouts, and are able to offer immediate and effective advice.

Talking about the activity, Chloe said: "As IDVAs, we really benefit from having those face-to-face interactions with clients. When we’re able to speak with people in person, we can gauge emotions better, read body language, and build that report so we can tailor our approach appropriately.

"We also find we get a better uptake on our services when we have that in-person approach, even if this doesn’t mean engaging with us initially. After a day or so, or a good night’s sleep, people sometimes change their mind so we always follow-up to ask if they’re ready for our support.

"We want to be as approachable as possible so we don’t wear uniforms and we’re here to speak to as openly as possible about what help we can offer you, completely independent from police. IDVAs going out with officers means we can catch people in the moment of what’s just happened and talk about what we can offer – carrying that support on immediately without the need to wait for any referrals.

"I feel really privileged to be part of this experience and being able to get to the front-line in offering those immediate acts of support, safety advice and signposting to whatever service is most appropriate for them. The IDVAs across the Northumbria area have a wealth of experience and really care about making that difference to peoples’ lives – which is ultimately what we’re here to do."

Operation Flagship is being led by domestic abuse lead for Northumbria Police, Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Seymour, and she added: "Chloe’s work, and the work of the IDVAs across the North East, is vitally important in offering much-needed support to anyone who has experienced any form of domestic abuse.

"To anyone who is in two minds about reporting domestic abuse, please know we’re here for you and we’re ready to give you the support you need. Report to us today."

Anyone who is a victim of abuse can contact police using the ‘Report’ pages of the website or by calling 101. Anyone who is in immediate danger should always call 999.

Further support and advice is available through the National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247.