Crackdown on domestic violence

DOMESTIC violence kills more young women than cancer.

According to West Yorkshire Police, it accounts for 25 per cent of violent crime in Calderdale and will affect one in four women and one in six men in their lifetimes.

In Calderdale, a specialist police team is working to fight those figures.

Part of Calderdale Police's vulnerable victim's unit, the domestic violence team is made up of specially-trained officers that include someone dedicated to working with other agencies.

The move means the police are working more closely with council, health, housing and other bodies so that they all know about reports of domestic violence.

The crime is chronically under-reported, and even when victims do make a complaint they are often reluctant to see the case go to court.

PC Sarah Giles from the Calderdale team said they endeavour to support victims through the whole process, from when the assault is reported, right up to and after the court case.

New technology is helping them gather more evidence so there is less burden on the victims.

Police take photos of injuries and use footage from head cameras, which are fitted to the helmets of officers called to reports of domestic violence. Calderdale now also has a court dedicated to dealing with domestic violence cases, aimed at improving support for victims.

It can be a frustrating role, the team say, because victims can be unwilling to see charges brought against their partners and often return to them even after years of abuse.

Often they will speak to victims time and time again, but they say it is all worth it when they do decide to get help.

"We spend a lot of time with victims trying to help them," said PC Giles.

"We want to help them make a change and get the culprit out of their lives."

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