Victims and Witnesses of Crime
A website called
'Herts Sunflower' has been launched by the police, county council
and other partners to help offer support and advice for those
experiencing domestic abuse, rape or sexual assualt.
If you or someone you know is in
immediate danger dial 999.
For information, advice and ways to
get help, please visit the Hertfordshire Sunflower
website at www.hertssunflower.org.
There are also a number of other
places you can go to get advice:
Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse
Those affected or concerned by
domestic abuse can call the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline
088 088 088
(Monday to Friday 10am-10pm) for tailored
information, advice and support
The National Centre for Domestic
The National Centre for Domestic
Violence (NCDV) provides a free, fast emergency service to
survivors of domestic abuse regardless of their financial
circumstances, race, gender or sexual orientation. It is a
completely confidential service.
Their service allows anyone to
apply for an injunction within 24 hours of first contact (in most
circumstances). We work in close partnership with the police, local
firms of existing solicitors and other support agencies (Refuge,
Women's Aid etc) to help survivors obtain speedy protection.
To contact the NCDV, call:
0844 8044 999
Text ‘’NCDV’’ to
Hertfordshire Constabulary Domestic
Officers in our Harm Reduction
Units (dealing with Domestic Abuse, Honour Based Violence and Hate
Crime) and our Sexual Offences Investigation Teams (dealing with
rape and serious sexual offences) are specially trained to deal
with victims of these serious and very personal crimes.
You can be confident that if you
call us you will be treated with respect and in confidence.
If you would like to speak to an officer in our Harm Reduction Unit
please telephone one of the numbers below.
We have two Harm Reduction Units in
Hertfordshire Constabulary based at Watford and Stevenage Police
Stations which you can contact if you wish to speak to anyone in
confidence. The names and telephone numbers below are the
supervisors of those units but other staff in the units may also be
able to help you:
(covering Dacorum, Three Rivers, Watford, Hertsmere,
DI Justine Jenkins
Sgt Clare Leech
Sgt Clare Cray
(covering East and North Herts, Stevenage, Broxbourne
and St Albans)
DI Duncan Sales
Sgt Alison Farrell
Sgt Sue Parke
DS Terri Heredia
Rape and Sexual Assault
Hertfordshire Constabulary treats sexual assault and rape
extremely seriously and provides a range of support and services to
support victims. Click here for more information.
Independent Domestic Violence
These are now in place in the
county and work with victims on a one to one basis to give support
and provide impartial advice. They safety plan with victims and
also ensure the protection and wellbeing of affected family members
including children. IDVAs play a pivotal role and represent victims
at Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference, housing, civil and
criminal proceedings. They are the signpost and information link
for victims to services.
Multi Agency Risk Assessment
These now take place across the
county and are effectively information sharing meetings operating
under the remit to increase the safety, health and wellbeing of
victims. Already they have shown to reduce repeat victimisation by
up to 40 per cent.
Specialist Domestic Violence
Specialist Domestic Violence Courts
(SDVCs) are now in operation within Hertfordshire.
The SDVCs are dedicated to making
the victim feel as safe as possible, to bringing domestic violence
perpetrators to court more quickly, and to ensuring that all staff
working within the SDVC, including the magistrates, have dedicated
training and knowledge of the subject. They aim to be centres of
The Specialised Domestic Violence
Courts operate within the Magistrates' Court on one or more days of
the week. All DV cases and trials should be heard on that day, with
courtrooms set aside for this purpose. An Independent Domestic
Violence Advisor is present throughout.
In most cases the victim also
enters the court through a separate entrance and has their own
waiting area, away from the perpetrator and their family.
In Hertfordshire there are
Specialist Domestic Violence Courts operating in Hemel Hempstead,
St. Albans and Stevenage.
The first DV court in Hertfordshire began in Hemel Hempsteadin
early 2008. The main benefits of the courts are their effectiveness
in helping trials reach a successful outcome as well as aiming to
provide a less traumatic experience for victims from the moment
they report their situation to the police right through to their
day in court.
Agencies and organisations involved
in the SDVC process include:
- Her Majesty's Court Service
- Crown Prosecution Service
(including the Witness Care Unit)
- Local Authorities
- Specialist local support services
such as Victim Support
- The Court based Witness
- Take a statement
- Once a statement has been made to
the police, they will then offer to refer you to an Independent
Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) and/or Victim Support depending on
- Police will explain what support
and services are available to you before and during court
The Witness Care
Unit (A joint initiative between the police and the CPS,
helping victims and witnesses by providing a single point of
contact throughout the court process) will:
- Give you the name of a Witness
Care Officer who will be your single point of contact about the
- They will keep you updated and
provide information about support available
- They will provide you with all the
information you need relating to support and the court case
- Make an assessment of your needs,
helping with travel arrangements to court, child care or
interpreters if needed
- Will refer you to the court based
Witness Service, who will contact you before court and invite you
to a pre-trial court visit, as well as giving you dedicated support
on the day of trial
Services (e.g. Victim Support) and the Independent
Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA) are independent from the
criminal justice system. After making your statement you will be
contacted by an IDVA (assuming you have agreed to a referral) who,
together with Specialist Support Services, will:
- Explain and assess your needs and
- Help complete paperwork
- Help with safety plans at every
- Explain the procedure and the
positive outcomes of the SDVC
- Help with child protection
- Provide access to advice on
housing, immigration, benefits and employment
- Work closely with other agencies
or support organisations to make sure all your needs are met
- Work with other agencies
concerning harassment or intimidation
- Offer emotional support for as
long as it is needed
Benefits of the
You will have already been offered the opportunity to visit the
court in advance if you are attending for a trial:
- They operate on a set day dealing
solely with DV cases
- Throughout the process and on your
day in court victims have a consistent point of contact
- The Courts provide a less
- In most courts, there are separate
entrances and waiting rooms for victims and witnesses
- There are uniformed police
officers present on the day
- Court staff and magistrates have
received specialist DV awareness training
DV can take many forms including
physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse and can result in
victims being totally cut off from family and friends.
We are also able to offer you
details of a number of external agencies
Tel: 0300 999 5428
Broken Rainbow is specifically for
LGBT victims of domestic violence. Broken Rainbow is the only UK
LGBT domestic violence helpline. It is staffed by highly trained
sessional workers and volunteers. They can provide active
listening, signposting, referrals, advice, etc.
Tel: 0808 2000 247
Women's Aid is a key national
charity working to end domestic violence against women and
children. They support a network of over 500 domestic and sexual
violence services across the UK.
Tel: 0808 2000 247
Refuge's network of safe houses
provides emergency accommodation for women and children when they
are most in need.
What is a refuge?
A refuge is a safe house for women
and children escaping domestic violence. The address is
confidential and no men are allowed in the building. A refuge is a
place where women can be sure they are safe, and where they can
access emotional and practical support from staff who understand
what they have been through.
Every woman in the refuge is
escaping abuse, meaning they can share their experiences and offer
each other support.
Refuge recognise that some women
may wish to live in refuges sensitive to their cultural needs or
preferences. Some of our refuges are specifically for women from
particular ethnic or cultural backgrounds.
Refuge offers a range
of services to address those needs.
Violence Safety Plan Booklet
Sunflower Centre Leaflet