Staff from the 24 hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline were at Foyle Women’s Aid this week to see a demonstration of the PSNI body worn cameras. Helpline Staff also gave a presentation on their services and statistics.
Body cameras worn by police officers to gather evidence in domestic abuse cases have resulted in the first successful prosecution since the six-month pilot scheme was launched in June. The PSNI say that they are already proving vital in building cases where victims of domestic abuse may be too scared or traumatised to see a prosecution through.
Women’s Aid campaigned to have these cameras introduced as they have been so effective in other parts of the UK and America in collecting evidence. The camera scheme and a designated court day for domestic abuse cases has resulted in a higher number of prosecutions in the north west. Marie Brown, Director of Foyle Women’s Aid said that the specialised court listings day is the only one of its kind running in Northern Ireland, and that it was set up for all victims of domestic abuse.
Victim Support, Women’s Aid and the court services work together to ensure that victims are supported through this process. But they have found that there is room for more support to be given at different stages to help secure convictions and improve child care provision.