Merton’s Domestic Violence Forum welcomed Merton Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Stephen Thomas to their February meeting to discuss the police’s role in combating domestic violence in Merton.

Chief Superintendent Thomas revealed to the meeting that nationally there are 1399 calls are received by the police regarding domestic violence incidents every day. Locally there are 160 calls received a month.

The MDVF was also informed of the ‘Third Party Reporting Scheme’ which will be officially launched in Merton in April. The scheme will enable anybody who is experiencing, or knows someone who is a victim of hate crime – be it domestic violence, racial or homophobic harassment – to report it on behalf of the victim anonymously if preferred. The scheme will involve a 24-hour telephone service staffed by trained and experienced staff based at MASCOT – the Merton and Shaftsbury Community Alarm Scheme – who will record reports.

Residents can call 0800 085 4516 from April 3rd 2001. In addition leaflets with a prepaid address and form to report incidents will be available in public places from April.

The meeting also learnt that Victim Support Merton have secured funding for a dedicated worker for victims of domestic violence and further funding to train volunteers. The dedicated worker should be post by May 2001.

Councillor Maxi Martin, Chair of the Merton Domestic Violence Forum said: ‘The MDVF is made up of representatives from the Council, the community, the voluntary sector, the police and health authority who are all committed to combating domestic violence in Merton. We meet quarterly and I was delighted to welcome the Merton Divisional Commander – Chief Superintendent Thomas to our recent meeting to discuss with him the police’s role in addressing domestic violence.

“There were more than 2000 recorded instances of domestic violence in Merton last year and the Police believe that this is an underestimate of the real level of this crime. Domestic Violence is a serious problem, and must not swept under the carpet. This is why the Merton Domestic Violence Forum welcomes the London Strategy Against Domestic Violence which will be launched by the Mayor of London on March 8th to coincide with International Women’s Day.’

Chief Superintendent Stephen Thomas, Merton Divisional Commander said: ‘The Police officers in Merton are committed to addressing domestic violence in partnership with other agencies. We will work closely with the Council, and
other statutory and voluntary organisations to assist anyone who is a vic