With November marking National Career Development month, we are hearing from several organisations which have used our innovative virtual reality (VR) technology to help deliver and improve staff training, in a bid to provide better outcomes for children, young people and vulnerable adults.
In the second of our series, we look at Antser’s partnership with the Metropolitan Police.
In a study, the University of Durham revealed that the number of domestic abuse victims contacting support services in England doubled during the first three weeks of lockdown in March/April 2020. In addition, the police receive around 100 calls an hour relating to domestic abuse – and research revealed that at least one in four women, and one in six men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.
As a result, the Met Police, in its commitment to enhancing officer practice at first and subsequent incidents, partnered with Antser to use its innovative VR technology to assist with its Domestic Abuse Improvement Programme.
The pilot training programme was delivered to 48 frontline officers across London’s Met Police Service, giving them the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of domestic abuse survivors and better understand its impact on children, young people and survivors.
The aim was to enhance officers’ understanding of domestic abuse and the expectations of 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, and the second from a small child, both films show exposure to drugs, alcohol, and domestic abuse. The session aimed to highlight the manipulation of 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 responses 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 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 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 of Antser, said:
“I am pleased that we are able to contribute to the way police respond to domestic abuse incidents. We have all learnt over the years the importance of responses to victims. Our VR 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.”
This is another example of how, by investing in the personal development and training of their staff and colleagues, organisations can have a huge impact not just on the people they work with, but also the people they support. By giving staff the tools, they need to understand the impact of trauma and abuse allows them to provide a better service to the people who need it most.