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

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

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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

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