Detective Constable Natalie Passano of the RGP’s Domestic Abuse Team has just returned from a one-week attachment with the Thames Valley Police’s Domestic Abuse Unit.
One her first day at Reading Police Station, Natalie was present when a victim arrived at the station to report a history of abuse. The woman described her experiences of assaults, false imprisonment, rapes, threats to kill and examples of coercive and controlling behaviour. This first interview with a police officer was made particularly difficult because the frightened woman was a Chinese national, so the highly emotional interview could only be carried out with the assistance of a police interpreter.
Natalie also spent some time at the police station in Windsor, where she joined a multi-agency conference aiming to provide support for victims of abuse. Around the table were representatives of housing agencies, children’s services, care workers, social workers and, of course, members of the Thames Valley Police Domestic Abuse Unit.
At other times, Natalie was briefed by officers who were specialists in fields, such as stalking and even strangulation and suffocation.
The attachment to Thames Valley had particular significance because Gibraltar is about to introduce new legislation, which will be similar to that which is already in place in the UK.
This new legislation to tackle domestic abuse, includes a new offence targeting Coercive and Controlling Behaviour. Examples of such behaviour are: isolating a person from their friends and family, depriving them of their basic needs, taking control over aspects of their everyday life, such as where they can go, who they can see, what to wear and when they can sleep and repeatedly putting them down, such as telling them they are worthless.
Gibraltar’s new legislation will also include Domestic Abuse Protection Notices/Orders, which give senior police officers the power, in urgent circumstances, to require that a person leave his or her residence.
“The attachment to Thames Valley Police gave me an excellent insight into the work of a very large Domestic Abuse Unit in a highly populated area of southern England,” said Natalie, who has worked in the RGP’s Domestic Abuse team for two years.
“As we are about to have new legislation in Gibraltar, it was particularly useful to see the way that police officers use similar legislation in UK.”
“But, the RGP continues to share the same objectives as its counterparts in Thames Valley – we always aim to bring perpetrators to justice and to support the victims of these heinous crimes.”
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or know anyone that is, you can contact the RGP’s domestic abuse team in confidence on: