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Soldiers from 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (3RHA) trained as Domestic Violence Champions at Albemarle Barracks thanks to PCC scheme

28th June 2016

3RHA soldiers based at Albemarle Barracks, Newcastle, have become the latest recruits to a growing network of Domestic Violence (DV) Champions across Northumbria, thanks to an initiative launched by Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird.

These champions, who are colleagues within the workplace, are there for men and women to confide in, or share concerns about others who they think may be suffering from domestic abuse.

The role was introduced as part of a ‘Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse in the Workplace policy’ launched by Commissioner Baird to help organisations who recognise that domestic abuse is a serious issue which affects many people and want to do something about it.

Since then, many organisations throughout the region such as Tesco and the Newcastle United Foundation have brought the role of DV champions into their workplace and a British Army unit based in the NE of England has joined that growing list. Those trained at Albemarle Barracks now bring the total number of champions within the network to more than 600.  The champions network offers continued support to add their knowledge and to build confidence in their role.

Anyone in any organisation can become a DV champion, receiving free training from DV specialists based at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Having completed the training, champions are then in the position to raise awareness and offer advice and support within their organisation and from partner organisations.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “It’s fantastic to have the Ministry of Defence in our area on board with this. Every organisation has a responsibility to safeguard  its staff and ensure that practical steps to support victims of domestic abuse are firmly in place; the Ministry of Defence should certainly be no exception.

“We approached Albemarle Barracks as we know military units have established welfare and support structures and we thought and DV Champions would fit perfectly into this offering.

“Like all other communities, it’s inevitable that domestic abuse occurs within the Armed Forces. While there is no evidence to suggest that domestic abuse is any more prevalent within the Armed Forces, relationships within such services can face pressures such as economic dependency, regular postings and long periods of separation.  It’s therefore vital that employees are aware of the support that is available to them and how it can be accessed.

“Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Murphy and his regiment have shown great enthusiasm to take this initiative on and I wish to thank those individuals who have today put themselves forward for the champion role so in future they are in a position to reach out to colleagues and offer help should to those suffering at the hands of an abuser.”

Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Murphy, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to use the expertise of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to better orientate our soldiers to important and relevant social issues.  The Army and my Regiment cannot regard itself as immune from incidents of Domestic Violence (DV) and the best way forward is to educate our people on how we support victims and highlight concerns.  We are delighted that our growing relationship with Vera Baird  and Northumbria Police allowed us to bring this vital DV training onto our Barracks.  We hope to do more in the future.”