Sussex Police are launching a scheme to bring extra reassurance to victims of domestic abuse during the Christmas and New Year period.

In the week leading up to Christmas a number of known high risk perpetrators of domestic abuse will be receiving visits from police to remind them of the consequences of their conduct and that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

The scheme will also see officers visiting a number of people assessed as at high risk of becoming victims of further offending.

Operation Hope is part of the policing response for what can be a particularly tough time of year for those in controlling and abusive relationships.

Police officers, working with Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs), will visit the victims to assess their current risk, help ensure they have safety plans in place, and encourage them to engage with specialist support services if they have not already done so.

Other officers will visit the selected perpetrators and, as well as reminding them about their conduct, will encourage them to engage with one of the programmes available in Sussex that will enable them to examine and reconsider their own behaviour and life-style.

The victims and perpetrators being visited have been selected by specialist police officers, in consultation with domestic abuse partners including Worth Services, Change Grow Live (CGL), Victim Support and local authorities, through the local Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs), identifying those considered to be highest risk.

Detective Superintendent Miles Ockwell of the force’s Public Protection Command said; “Existing tensions can sometimes be made worse at this time of year, due to excessive alcohol, increased family tensions and financial pressures, and currently Covid restrictions, but we need to be clear, these pressures do not excuse domestic abuse.

“Only abusers are responsible for their actions and we will hold them to account in order to reduce violence against women and girls. Domestic abuse can have a devastating impact on the whole family”

“Operation Hope is a well-planned multi-agency initiative aimed at supporting known victims of domestic abuse at times of increased risk and holding perpetrators accountable.

“Initially launched in Brighton and Hove in 2020, Operation Hope has now been deployed several times during the pandemic across the whole of Sussex”

“We will carry out follow-up assessments, working with partners, to see if the victims were further offended against, and if the perpetrators persisted in their conduct.”

Meanwhile police continue to remind all victims – at home shouldn’t mean at risk of domestic abuse – #youarenotalone. If you are controlled or physically, sexually, economically or emotionally abused by a partner, ex-partner or family member, this is Domestic Abuse. Contact us at sussex.police.uk or find support at safespacesussex.org.uk.

But in an emergency always dial 999.

The Operation Hope initiative is just one of several undertaken by Sussex Police to combat domestic abuse. Work throughout the year includes:
– A multi-agency domestic abuse perpetrator project, focusing on the highest harm, most actively dangerous perpetrators, to reduce harm and repeat victimisation and offending:
– A dedicated team of domestic abuse investigators who can respond to victims via video calls, providing a quick, efficient and discreet response:
– Specially dedicated patrol units responding to emergency calls reporting domestic abuse.

The force has also launched a unique online survey which runs until 7 January, seeking the views of people across the county on the experience of women and girls as victims of harassment, sexual and violent crime.

Whilst the survey focuses on incidents that have taken place in public, there is also an opportunity to share experiences of different locations including behaviour you have experienced online and in your home. The results of this survey, together with feedback from focus groups being conducted around the county, will be used to further improve what police do to making Sussex safer.