Domestic abuse victims ‘told to find a hotel by police’

16:28 15 November 2012

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A women and children’s charity worker has hit out at the way some Metropolitan Police officers deal with domestic abuse victims.

Julia Dwyer, from Refuge, slammed some officers for inconsistency in the way they treated complaints from battered spouses, and said some were forced to report instances of abuse up to 20 times.

Speaking to the London Assembly’s police and crime committee today, she described her “grave concerns” over police practice.

Ms Dwyer said: “One of the issues is (officers) preparing risk assessments and risk management - we see there is a great inconsistency of process.

“The client will say to us they ask us these series of risk questions but then they haven’t done anything about it. Women aren’t being given information about services.

“We have had women being told that they should find a hotel if they haven’t got a place to stay in.”

Ms Dwyer also said incidents of domestic abuse were erroneously recorded as first offences by police when it was unlikely because most victims were assaulted an average of 35 times before they plucked up the courage to report them.

“Nobody gives (victims) enough information,” she added. “I think our key role is to fill in the gaps that exist in the system.”

However,Yvonne Trainer, from Rape Crisis, said she appreciated recent efforts by the Met to improve its reporting process.

They were invited to a meeting with officers to discuss their concerns.

She added: “I think this is the first time that somebody actually came to us - that was a really big step forward.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Sapphire is committed to providing a thorough service to victims of rape; ensuring they are at the heart of every investigation.

“Any allegation reported to police is subject to a full investigation which exhausts all possible lines of inquiry.

“We would always encourage victims to report offences to come forward - regardless of the potential outcome of any investigation - so they can be provided with the best possible care and support and to ensure we have an accurate picture of what is happening in London.”

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