Help for women in trouble

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Vulnerable women in Ilkeston are to be handed mobile panic alarms so they can summon help if threatened.

The 40 Skyguard units are intended to step up protection for domestic violence victims in Erewash, Derby and South Derbyshire.

Desperate messages will go to a specialist team in a call centre, who will be able to get them help promptly or give advice.

The units, which look like key fobs, also beam back the exact location of the caller so they can be easily traced.

And the call centre staff will be able to hear what is happening even if the woman is unable to speak to them.

“These are mobile devices they can take with them wherever they go. They may be approached when out shopping or at a petrol station, rather than just in their homes,” said Katherine Thornhill, community safety officer for Erewash.

The group is also training 35 staff at primary schools in Erewash to act as an early warning system for problems.

Erewash Community Safety Partnership said school workers can help because they may notice children who often turn up hungry or unkempt.

Miss Thornhill said efforts were made to reform abusers but added:”There is always support for the victim. We make sure that person is not at greater risk.”

The technology was also backed by Derbyshire police.

Sgt Rachel Frost, a member of the domestic abuse investigations team, said: “The alarms are a great piece of equipment provided by partnerships for the unit to issue to victims.

“They will offer reassurance and protection to victims of domestic violence both in the home and whilst they away from home.

“This enables them to feel confident and continue with their day-to-day lives safely and securely in the knowledge that if they need police assistance anywhere its available at the click of a button.”