Listening to the victims
In the second of a special two-part report, looks at the workings of the Hillingdon Police Domestic Abuse Unit and councillor Janet Gardner, the borough’s domestic violence victims’ advocate
NCOURT, the suspect said that he slapped the woman but denied punching her and said her injuries were caused when she drunkenly fell over.
Police and the CPS refused to accept this and a special hearing, called a Newton Hearing, was held.
This type of inquiry is used when two parties in a case offer such conflicting evidence that a judge must sit without a jury to determine who is telling the truth.
The woman was summoned to give her side of events, which she did via videolink, and in some distress.
Detective Constable Anji Dawson, at the time a key member of the Hillingdon Police Domestic Abuse Unit, said: “The judge said she believed the victim, and [her abuser] was sent to prison for 13 weeks.
“It was a good result and it was important because it showed victims are listened to and believed. It also showed that she was willing to stand up against him, that she was willing to go to court even though it was against her wishes.”
Det Con Dawson does wants other victims to seek help, either through the police, charities such as Women’s Aid, Refuge and National Centre for Domestic Violence and other organisations, agencies and charities.
She said: “My message to victims is: ‘Don’t suffer in silence’.
“There are lots of people out there that can help and support you, whether it’s police or other agencies.
“You can apply for a non-molestation order through the county court if you don’t want to get police involved.
“This is something I am passionate about. I have seen how vulnerable victims of domestic abuse can be. They need help.
“It is not acceptable and it can’t continue. There’s help and advice out there.”
In an emergency call police on 999.
Non-emergencies can call police on 101.
n SUPPORT: Victims of domestic violence should not suffer in silence; (below) councillor Janet Gardner