New victim service offers help
A new service for victims of domestic violence is being trialled in Counties/Manukau.
The Domestic Violence Response Service (DVRS) is a joint initiative between Police, Counselling Services, Victim Support, Women’s Refuge, and the South Auckland Family Violence Protection Network (SAFVPN). It provides assistance to victims of domestic violence.
Pam Mather is case coordinator for the service which runs out of the Manurewa Police Station.
“DVRS provides a crisis intervention service for victims of domestic violence. We work closely with police to provide immediate assessment and assistance. We have two crisis teams on every night and during the day I attend any calls referred by police,” says Pam.
DVRS meets or contacts victims within 24 hours of the incident.
“We are there to look after the victim – we assess their situation according to physical, psychological needs and put them in touch with the appropriate agency. Sometimes people don’t know where to start or what help is out there for them.”
Pam says DVRS staff also help complete some of the paperwork associated with domestic violence such as POL 400s and Risk and Lethality Assessments.
“The service takes the load off police staff and lessens the time they need to spend at incidents, freeing them up to attend other jobs.”
Manurewa Sergeant Millie Whear says on-going support and follow-up with the victims of domestic violence was not as efficient as it could be.
“With DVRS being trialled in Manurewa, we have been able to offer the victims a better overall service and on-going support. Some people are too scared to talk to the ‘uniform’. Through more follow-up and consistent contact, these people open up and talk honestly about their lives,” says Millie.
“In return we have victims who are more prepared to co-operate and remain on board with the police and the court process. Our workload has not increased in paperwork and the public have started to trust us.”
DVRS works closely with Family Violence Coordinators.