Antser has recently partnered with the Met Police to enable police officers to use their innovative Virtual Reality (VR) technology to help frontline officers better understand the impact of domestic abuse on children, young people and survivors.
With Domestic Abuse on the rise, the University of Durham reveals in their latest study that the number of domestic abuse victims contacting support services in England doubled during the first three weeks of lockdown in March/April 2020. The Police receive around 100 calls an hour relating to domestic abuse – and research revealing that at least one in four women, and one in six men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.
The Met Police, in their commitment to enhance officer practice at first and subsequent incidents, made the decision to pilot the training with Antser that gave officers the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of domestic abuse survivors.
Walking in the footsteps of someone experiencing domestic abuse has impacted Health, Education and Social Care Practitioners over the last two years and this insight is now being made available to front line officers due to the innovative thinking of senior officers.
Antser – the UK’s leading providers of using Virtual Reality to provide transformational solutions for the health, education, and social care sectors – delivered a pilot training programme to 48 front line officers across London’s Met Police Service to assist with its Domestic Abuse Improvement Programme.
Using Antser VR as a tool to help bring to life the perspectives of children and victims through immersive storytelling, the aim was to enhance officers’ understanding of domestic abuse and the expectations on them as first responders, while establishing the challenges they face and how they currently overcome them.
Officers were shown two immersive VR experiences – the first from the point of view of a baby in utero; the second highlighted manipulation of police officers by a perpetrator, minimising the impact of the abuse and its impact on the child – in a bid to encourage officers to think differently about their behaviour, responses and decisions when responding to domestic abuse incidents.
Following the training, 79% of attendees agreed the VR training was more engaging than other types of training on domestic abuse while nearly half (47%) said it had made them more aware of the impact on children and unborn babies and so to change their approach accordingly. In addition, around a third (31%) said they would now try to better understand other perspectives of abuse and be more aware of their attitude and behaviour towards victims, as well as spending more time with them following a call out to an incident.
Several respondents also said the training had prompted them to improve their level of assessment and communication; to make sure they are correctly documenting information to provide a “good picture of the environment” and to utilise sensational wording to better highlight the risk factors affecting vulnerable parties for other agencies to see.
Richard Dooner, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Antser, said:
“I am pleased that we are able to contribute to how policing responds to domestic abuse incidents. We have all learnt over the years the importance of responses to victims. Our Virtual Reality programme is helping practitioners maintain their empathy when attending incidents.
“Our aim was to open up discussions about what police practice was yielding good results, but also how these results could be further enhanced and strengthened as a result of VR perspective-taking. We are incredibly pleased with the feedback so far and glad that the training has made officers rethink their strategies when called out to incidents of domestic abuse, ensuring the best outcomes for children and victims.”
John Carroll, Detective Superintendent and Head of Public Protection East Area BCU (EA) at the Met Police, said:
“This past year has heightened everyone’s awareness and concerns around the rise of domestic abuse, and the Met understands and shares those concerns.
“We have been in a very fortunate position to be able to use incredible technology like Antser VR to assist with the Domestic Abuse Improvement Programme which will be helping our frontline officers to better understand the impact of domestic abuse and to create a safer place for children, young people and survivors.”
With over 30 years’ experience, Antser provides better outcomes for children, adults, families, and communities by delivering training and practice within child protection and safeguarding, across children’s and adults’ sectors in the UK.
Since its inception, Antser VR now helps organisations across both the public and private sector target several topical issues currently affecting vulnerable children, young people and adults, including child sexual exploitation (CSE), domestic violence, gangs and knife crime and youth justice.
For more information about Antser VR, click here.