Sussex’s police commissioner takes a stand against domestic violence

Sussex’s Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, wants action against domestic violence to remain among the top priority for police in the county.

Last month, Sussex Police became the first police force in the country to gain White Ribbon Award status.

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner

It was been awarded in recognition of its commitment to the White Ribbon Campaign, a global campaign to ensure men take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women.

The WRC aims to raise awareness and understanding and ensure that services are provided in order to reduce the incidence of domestic violence and to give the local community increased support and understanding of the issue.

Speaking as part of her monthly video blog, Mrs Bourne said she was delighted the force had received the award since she was championing the issue of domestic violence in her focus as it is a key focus of the constabulary’s police and crime plan.

She said: “What it means, it is an obligation to stand up and speak out against violence against women is embedded in the culture across Sussex Police.

“What I want in three years’ time is when I stop a police officer on the street and ask ‘what does white ribbon mean to you?’ that he or she understands that it is about our obligation to speak out and say violence against women as got to stop and it is not acceptable.”

Sussex Chief Constable Martin Richards had admitted that domestic abuse is still largely a hidden crime occurring behind closed doors.

Last year, the force launched a campaign to encourage earlier reporting of domestic abuse, encouraging victims to talk to police and partner agencies, and not suffer in silence.

He said: “We want the crime of domestic abuse to be frowned upon as much as any other crime and for victims to be aware of the help and support that is available from both the police and partner agencies.

“To be the first police force in the country to be granted White Ribbon status recognises how seriously we take domestic abuse and our commitment to dealing with it.”

Chris Green, director of the White Ribbon Campaign said: “Sussex Police have shown real leadership by becoming the first force to attain White Ribbon Status. This demonstrates their commitment to preventing violence against women, and we look forward to working with them to make sure that rape, sexual assault and domestic violence are all halted.”