Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird DBE QC, were awarded the Suzy Lamplugh National Trust Safer Workplace Award at a ceremony held in London on Thursday, 23rd March.

Dame Vera received the award in recognition of her commitment to improving how workplaces support employees suffering domestic abuse.

The Personal Safety Awards recognise people or groups who have promoted personal safety in an exceptional way across a range of sectors.

Other finalists in the same category as Dame Vera included The University of Manchester and Octavia Housing.

Dame Vera was praised for making personal safety a key part of her Violence Against Women and Girls strategy. Part of this strategy involved her taking the lead in developing a Domestic Abuse Workplace Policy, setting out clear tools and guidance to help shape workplace safety. She also set up a Domestic Violence Champions scheme, where champions are trained to spot the signs of someone who may be suffering abuse and signpost them to specialist services.

Now, three years after the launch of the scheme, there is a network of 650 champions throughout Northumbria. Each champion is fully trained and supported by the office. They are on hand to help anyone being abused, whether they are being abused at work or work is their place of sanctuary.

Dame Vera said: "Tackling domestic abuse is incredibly important to me and the main objective of this work has been to reach as many people as possible, raising awareness and highlighting the help and support that's available. I felt that in my role of Police and Crime Commissioner I could lead the way, helping to change the culture of businesses and how they support staff who could be suffering in silence.

"I'm very proud of the success these schemes have had so far and it's an honour to win this award. I'm also very thankful to my team and various partners who have helped bring the ideas to life as well as the organisations and 650 champions who have got on board to improve practices within the workplace. It should have been me nominating them for the award!"

DCI Deborah Alderson, from Northumbria Police's Safeguarding Department, who leads on tackling domestic abuse, said: "Domestic abuse is an absolute priority for Northumbria Police and as such we're very fortunate to have Dame Vera as our Police and Crime Commissioner - she proactively drives the domestic abuse agenda both here in Northumbria and nationally too. The Workplace Policy and Domestic Violence Champions schemes are just two examples of her innovative approaches to engaging with local communities, encouraging others to take responsibility, and promoting personal safety in the workplace. As a police officer I can really see the benefit of these schemes."

Suzy Lamplugh Trust National Personal Safety Awards celebrate the achievements of individuals who are committed to personal safety in the workplace, in communities or in universities or schools.

Suzy Lamplugh Trust Chief executive Rachel Griffin said: "We are delighted Dame Vera was a recipient of the Safer Workplace award this year."

Worcestershire-based community safety group Safer Wyre Forest's ContinU group won the Young People's award after seeing off stiff competition from around the country.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust was set up in memory of a 25-year-old estate agent who disappeared in 1986 after she went to meet an unknown client. She was presumed murdered and legally declared dead seven years later. Her parents set up the trust to raise awareness of the dangers and risks people can face in society.