Sergeant Joanne Eakin is a Domestic Abuse Officer with the Belfast Public Protection Unit within the PSNI.
Here, Joanne provides a guest blog telling us about the role of a Domestic Abuse Officer and how the PSNI deal with incidents of domestic abuse.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) receives a report of a domestic incident on average every 18.4 minutes…. That is 78 domestic incidents per day.
This will increase on the run up to Christmas and the PSNI will soon be launching their Christmas Campaign to encourage victims of abuse to come forward.
How do the PSNI view domestic abuse?
The PSNI believe that domestic abuse should not be tolerated and that it is not acceptable in any shape or form in today’s society.
Therefore, they have specially trained officers who deal with those victims who are at a risk of serious harm due to the domestic abuse. I am one of those officers. We are called ‘Domestic Abuse Officers’ and work within the 5 Public Protection Units across the province. I cover the Belfast area and work from Antrim Road PSNI Station in Belfast which consists of 2 Sergeants and 10 Constables.
What do the PSNI class as domestic abuse?
The PSNI are fully aware that domestic abuse can include a range of behaviours and is not solely physical abuse which is a common misconception. Domestic abuse can involve any one of the following:-
- Physical abuse – for example, being pushed, hit, kicked and beaten.
- Emotional abuse – for example, being verbally abused and humiliated, constantly blamed, being put down in front of other people and being kept away from family and friends.
- Financial abuse – for example, being left without money, having wages, benefits or pension being taken away from you or having to account for all your spending.
- Sexual abuse – for example, being forced to watch or act out pornography, being talked to in a sexually degrading way, being sexually assaulted or raped.
Some abusers think domestic abuse is acceptable as they are married to the victim but that is not true. Some victims also do not realise they are being abused.
The important thing for any victim is to recognise is when it is happening to them and to accept that they are not to blame.
How can the PSNI help me if I am the victim of Domestic Abuse?
The PSNI and the various Domestic Abuse Teams throughout Northern Ireland are here to protect, help and support victims of domestic abuse in many different ways:-
- Investigate – We guarantee to fully investigate any incident that has occurred and take action against the perpetrator if there is sufficient evidence.
- Protect – We will protect you and your children from immediate or further harm and advise you in relation to criminal proceedings and police procedure.
- Inform – We can provide information on local domestic abuse support agencies that can give emotional and practical assistance.
For non-emergency calls to the PSNI and general enquiries, call 101.
In the case of an emergency dial 999 or use the emergency text phone by texting 18000
Domestic Abuse is a serious offence which no one should have to suffer. If you are the victim of such abuse or know of someone who is suffering, please contact the PSNI for advice and assistance.
Sergeant Joanne Eakin│Domestic Abuse │Belfast Public Protection Unit
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