PSNI introduces victim-focused domestic abuse and fraud online reporting options

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has added bespoke victim-focused domestic abuse and fraud options to its online reporting platform.

Jun 11, 2024
By Paul Jacques

Assistant Chief Constable Ryan Henderson said he hopes this bespoke online option will “increase reporting of this dangerous and terrifying crime type”.

Having this option for reporting domestic abuse online, or for a person to report on someone else’s behalf, is an alternative to speaking on the phone, he said.

“Domestic abuse is a particularly frightening crime type,” said Mr Henderson. It can affect anyone, often leaving them feeling isolated and alone.

“It’s a stark fact that we respond to an incident of domestic abuse, on average, every 17 minutes. Involved in each incident is someone who needs help.

“For victims to pick up the phone, to tell us what they’re suffering and to ask for help, takes tremendous bravery and courage. And, often, it’s difficult to find a safe space and time to do so.

“Emergencies should always be reported via ‘999’, and the option of calling ‘101’ remains, however, by having this bespoke option to report online, or for someone to report on a victim’s behalf, is an alternative to speaking on the phone.”

He said the form will take around ten to 15 minutes to complete, but stressed that reporting persons should ensure they are safe to take that time to complete it.

A ‘leave this site’ button is there if required, which closes the site and opens the Google search engine so that the form will not be saved and will not be sent to police.

The PSNI said it is urging anyone worried about someone seeing their web history to clear it as soon as possible.

Officers will respond at a time and in a way the reporting person has asked for. A receipt email will not be sent, as is the practice for all other reports made to the PSNI, as this could pose a threat to safety.

The PSNI said the online report will be dealt with in the same way as other reports of domestic abuse.

Mr Henderson added: “We also hope this bespoke online option will increase reporting of this dangerous and terrifying crime type. We, as a Police Service, are here to help, and we will do all we can to support victims of domestic abuse.”

Suspected fraud and scams can also now be reported online.

The PSNI said in the 13 months between December 2022 and January 15, 2024, it received 5,412 reports of fraud, with reported total losses of approximately £23.1 million.

It added: “Fraud offences are complex to investigate as many of those responsible are from outside Northern Ireland and, therefore, outside PSNI’s jurisdiction.

“With this bespoke online option, reporting persons will know within minutes if their report will be dealt with by police, or be referred to Action Fraud.”

The new bespoke reporting options complement the existing online pathways for crime, anti-social behaviour and road traffic collisions.

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