Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A New Initiative on Assaults Tested

A new initiative is being tested out in Thanet to try and get a more accurate picture of the number of assaults being committed.

It comes after research showed that only a quarter of violent assaults are ever reported to the police, which means that no-one knows the full picture of when and where assaults take place and who the victims and attackers are.

Now hospital and ambulance staff are helping assault victims complete a simple tick box questionnaire, which is designed to find out the scene, date and time of the crime, the nature of the injury, the victim's age, gender and race and the number and gender of the attackers. The questions will also try and find out whether the victim or the attackers had consumed any alcohol before the attack, as almost half of assaults are believed to be drink related.

The scheme was first developed by the Shepway Community Safety Partnership and is being backed by the Thanet Community Safety Partnership. Project Manager Nigel Cruttenden said: "Although this is about getting a true picture of the number of assaults in Thanet, let's remember that the chances of becoming a victim of assault are much less than you might think. Generally, you're more likely to be a victim if you're male, aged 16 to 24, under the influence of alcohol and out very late at night or early in the morning. This research will be really valuable to us in finding out whether these assaults are just 'one off' incidents or whether the victim has been attacked by the same person, or people, before. Only by getting the full picture of the level and types of assaults taking place in Thanet can we put measures in place to help tackle the problem. I'd ask everyone who is a victim of assault to help the emergency staff in filling out these questionnaires, as they will provide valuable information for us and will help our work in making Thanet a safer place to live and work."

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