Officer and nurse commended after identifying victim of abuse

Posted: 02/08/22

A response officer and a specialist mental health nurse have been praised by their peers for helping to identify and safeguard a vulnerable victim of domestic abuse.

Police officer Andy Simpson and nurse Lisa Furnevel from the North of Tyne Street Triage Team were called to a report of concern for a man in Berwick.

A partnership between Northumbria Police and Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), the team is a dedicated multi-agency unit which provides wrap-around care for those in mental health crisis.

They headed to the scene to carry out a face-to-face triage of the man but when they arrived both Andy and Lisa had further concerns for the welfare of another woman who was at the scene.

Both Andy and Lisa, who have specialist training in matters of vulnerability and spotting the signs of domestic abuse, suspected the woman may be a victim of abuse and used their initiative to discretely remove her from the scene and spoke to her in private.

There she bravely disclosed to the officer and the nurse a history of domestic abuse and coercive behaviour.

The woman was taken to a police station for safety where she met with a specialist safeguarding officer to help support her, while PC Simpson went to the woman’s address and changed her locks, a gesture the victim hugely appreciated as she had wanted to change the locks for some time.

Lisa remained at the scene to provide mental health support to the man who later received support for his mental health and investigated by police accordingly.

Detective Chief Superintendent Deborah Alderson, head of the force’s Safeguarding Unit, was so impressed with the awareness and compassion shown by the pair, she has awarded them a Chief Superintendents Commendation for their efforts in protecting a vulnerable victim.

Det Chief Superintendent Alderson said: “This really is an excellent example of our street triage professionals taking on board the Vulnerability Matters training which encourages officers and partners to look beyond the obvious at an incident and to use their professional curiosity to identify further vulnerability.

“That is exactly what they have done and their awareness, curiosity and compassion has helped bring a vulnerable victim to safety.”

PC Simpson said: “I do feel really proud of the work we do on the Street Triage Team and being able to work with brilliant partners like Lisa, makes the job even more rewarding.

“To be recognised with a commendation is appreciated and very rewarding but it’s all in a day’s work to me.

“Protecting vulnerable people is what I come to work for and knowing you’ve helped save someone who may never have been brave enough to speak out is the real reward.”

Lisa Furnevel said: “I feel totally overwhelmed and grateful to receive this. I would like to think I would do the same again in any situation and will continue to carry out my role to the best of my ability.

“This highlights the importance of our partnership working with Northumbria Police and the innovative changes this has allowed us to make with the care and support we can provide to the vulnerable people who access our services.”

Samantha Kitula, Team Manager at CNTW, said: “This is a perfect example of the team working in a holistic way and always looking at the bigger picture. I am very proud of Andy and Lisa’s ability to act quickly and the support they provided to the individual.

“Andy and Lisa have shown how positive outcomes can be achieved when agencies work collaboratively to support vulnerable individuals.”

If you think you have what it takes to help identify someone who may be vulnerable and help provide the compassionate support they need, why not join #TeamNP.

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