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Women At Risk Of Being Stalked Are Now Being Offered Bodycams By Police

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Women At Risk Of Being Stalked Are Now Being Offered Bodycams By Police

Women in West Cumbria are going to be offered bodycams if they're at risk of being stalked by violent ex-partners.

The landmark domestic abuse pilot scheme from Women Out West (Wow), will use the cameras collect evidence, whilst also allowing them to act as a vital deterrent.

Wow has secured £1,920 from the Sellafield Charity Snowball Fund - which is raised by the nuclear plant's workers - to pilot 10 cameras for vulnerable women.

Wow founder Rachel Holliday said there were "too many women who need this protection".

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She added: "We had an increasing number of women asking for CCTV following experiences of domestic abuse and stalking.

"Thanks to people in our community raising money, we were able to install CCTV for protection.

Bodycams will be offered to women with violent exes (Credit: PA)
Bodycams will be offered to women with violent exes (Credit: PA)

"We noticed that once the CCTV was installed, the incidences of abuse reduced immensely or stopped all together.

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"We can do this at the victim's home, but what happens when she is out shopping or taking her children to school?

"We also know that many crimes against women are 'no further actioned' by police due to a lack of evidence.

"I honestly feel if we can support dash-cams to protect cars and drivers, surely we can provide body cams to protect victims?

"I am delighted; not only has Sellafield Snowball Fund supported us, the police have recognised the benefits of this project and the potential it could bring."

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One unnamed victim, threatened by a former partner, said bodycams would provide her with an "extra layer of reassurance".

She said she was told by police there was nothing they could do about her ex-partner's behaviour unless he committed a crime.

"I am still very uneasy being out in public in case he approaches me, so I think this bodycam idea is excellent," she said.

"It's a deterrent and will add an extra layer of reassurance and peace of mind for people like me who have suffered so badly from anxiety as a result of this nightmare which, for me, isn't over yet."

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The bodycams will help deter attacks and collect evidence (Credit: Shutterstock)
The bodycams will help deter attacks and collect evidence (Credit: Shutterstock)

The pilot project stemmed from Wow's realisation domestic violence "reduced immensely or stopped altogether" when CCTV was installed in homes.

Wow said "many crimes" were not prosecuted because of a lack of evidence.

"These women generally are very socially isolated so they have no family, no friends and no witnesses to what is going on," Ms Holliday said.

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Bodycams have already been deployed by most police officers to help fight crime .

In 2018, a University of Leeds study with Cumbria Police and West Yorkshire Police, explored the impacts of police-worn - not victim-worn - bodycams when called to domestic abuse incidents.

They found that officers wearing cameras felt it was a valuable tool for gathering evidence straight after an incident - and helped de-escalate the situation.

Officers also felt that their cameras helped reassure victims and witnesses, as well as support the police should their handling of the incident be scrutinised.

It is now hoped that by now providing cameras to victims could boost their safety and peace of mind and help their mental health.

The move hopes to help prevent domestic abuse (Credit: Shutterstock)
The move hopes to help prevent domestic abuse (Credit: Shutterstock)

The cameras provide reliable, high-quality evidence with HD video and audio recording.

Cumbria Police said it welcomed "any measures that not only help keep people safe but also make them feel safe".

Detective Chief Inspector James Yallop added: "We must listen to the views of women and girls when it comes to their own safety.

"The offer of bodycams is another option they have."

Speak-IT Solutions/BodyCamera.co.uk said: "We are proud to supply body-worn cameras as part of the Women Out West project."

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: News

Joanna Freedman
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