Domestic violence survey launched
An outreach survey has been launched by the Bermuda Police Service to help to “shape and focus” how it deals with domestic abuse.
People are being urged to tell of their experiences to enable officers to better handle the situation in a more “empathetic” way.
Launching the initiative, BPS commissioner Darrin Simons said: “We are seeking input and active participation from you.
“This is your opportunity to help shape where we focus our efforts and how we deliver our services to better meet your needs.
“We are starting with an anonymous survey in order to better understand the problem.
“The data gleaned from the survey will guide us in how we address the subject of domestic abuse and, more importantly, how we look after victims and help reform those responsible for committing these acts.
“The importance of your views cannot be understated. The survey will go live ... and run through the end of August
“It will take the form of a number of multiple-choice questions that seek to gauge the performance of the first responders, such as the Bermuda Police Service, as well as our partner agencies who provide the necessary after care and rehabilitation where needed
“The Bermuda Police Service is committed to improving our response to and how we treat the issue in the community.
“Through the survey we want to understand from residents what their understanding of domestic abuse is, their level of awareness of domestic abuse support within the local community, their preferred support and/or services, and if they have friends or family who have experienced domestic abuse.
“What are the barriers around seeking support for domestic abuse? That’s the type of information that the survey is seeking to elicit from the community.
“It’s your feedback that is going to help shape and frame these services, or how we change the delivery of our services.
“There is always opportunities to get better.
“This is about how can we do better, how can we have a more multi-agency approach to the problem and bring about a better service to the community.”
The commissioner said that the police have put a “flag” in their processing system to highlight domestic abuse.
He said: “In 2020 there were 305 times where that flag was ticked. In 2021 there were 148, and year to date for 2022 there are 208 occasions where that flag has been ticked.
“One of the things that we want to do as part of this initiative is develop a richer picture around what domestic abuse looks like. And, in line with the survey, get the feedback from the community to help shape the direction we go in and how we may wish to modify some of those services.
“Police officers know what to do, certainly when a crime has been committed — that’s bread and butter, what we do every day. I think one of the challenges that domestic abuse creates is sometimes there is some reluctance. I think police officers, generally, could be more empathetic in their response so they instil confidence in the part of the survivor.
“I don’t think it’s a question that police officers don’t know what to do. I think there is opportunities to better communicate that and be more empathetic in our response.”
In 2021, 168 children were referred to the Department of Child and Family Services for exposure to domestic violence.
The survey can be accessed at the home page of the Bermuda Police Service.