15 August 2022
Domestic abuse support announced. Herefordshire Council is investing in schemes to reduce domestic abuse in the county
Herefordshire Council will be spending around £360,000 to help people who have, or are, experiencing domestic abuse. Some of the money will go towards safe accommodation for those who need it.
Approved by cabinet members in May this year, the council’s domestic abuse strategy – developed in consultation with partner organisations and people with lived experience of domestic abuse – has now been published online. It focuses on four Ps: prevention, provision, partnership and perpetrators.
The strategy is designed to help people recognise all forms of domestic abuse; understand where to get help; seek, be offered and receive effective help and support as early as possible; understand and have the skills to establish healthy relationships.
The overall aim is to reduce the harm caused by, and the number of incidents of, domestic abuse in Herefordshire.
The council was awarded £362,913 in funding from the department for levelling up, housing and communities to help us meet new duties set out in the Domestic Abuse Act, to:
· Increase provision of safe accommodation and support in Herefordshire
· Develop a lived experience advisory group across Herefordshire and Worcestershire
· Continue the delivery of the DRIVE project, intervening with high harm, high risk perpetrators in Herefordshire
· Provide dedicated support for existing safe accommodation across the county and for people with protected characteristics, eg, disabled people, LBGTQ+ community, people from Black, Asian or minority ethnic communities as well as men who may find it harder to access support
· Provide support for children who witness domestic abuse
· Provide specialist legal advice around housing issues
Summary strategy stats:
- An estimated 4,900 women and 2,400 men in Herefordshire experienced domestic abuse in 2019-20
- Being disabled or LGBTQ+ puts you at a higher risk of domestic abuse
- West Mercia Police recorded an increase in domestic abuse offences in Herefordshire each year since 2017 – 2,168 were recorded between 2020-21
- Around 60 per cent of victim-survivors in Herefordshire do not support police action
- Three-quarters of the domestic homicides in Herefordshire between 2017-2021 were matricide (the killing of one’s mother)
Councillor Pauline Crockett, cabinet member for health and adult wellbeing, says:
“Domestic abuse is a very serious issue. Our strategy sets out a multi-layered approach of pragmatic steps to drastically reduce the challenges we face in our county. Our holistic approach will see us working with perpetrators as well survivors of domestic abuse. We want to challenge and educate offenders as well as provide all the support we possibly can to those who need it most. The measures the funding allows us to make will have a significant, positive effect on this issue within Herefordshire.”
For information on how to report domestic abuse, whether it’s for yourself or another adult, visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk/domesticabuse
Notes for editors
Domestic abuse has a huge impact on society and is one of the most widespread of all social problems. It causes pain and suffering for the people affected as well as their families. It also has a significant cost to public services and the local community, as this Home Office report spells out. It is often a hidden crime as sufferers are reluctant to report it while friends, neighbours and families are often hesitant about getting involved.
The crime survey for England and Wales shows an estimated 2.3 million adults aged 16-74 years experienced domestic abuse in 2019-20. More than one in 10 of all offences recorded by the police are domestic abuse related. People who have experienced, or are experiencing domestic abuse, may be affected in a number of ways. This includes significant and lasting impact on physical and mental health, homelessness, loss of income or work and isolation from families and friends. Children can experience both short- and long-term cognitive, behavioural and emotional effects as a result of witnessing domestic abuse.
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 established a definition of domestic abuse that includes a broad range of behaviours, including:
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Violent or threatening behaviour
- Controlling or coercive behaviour
- Economic abuse
- Psychological, emotional or other abuse
The act also gave local authorities new statutory duties, to:
- Appoint and consult with a multi-agency domestic abuse local partnership board
- Assess the need for local, accommodation-based domestic abuse support for all victim-survivors or their children, including those who come from outside the area
- Develop and publish a strategy for the provision of such support to cover their locality, having regard to the needs assessment
- Give effect to the strategy (through commissioning/ de-commissioning decisions) including the provision of safe accommodation
- Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the strategy, reviewing it every three years
Building on existing work, the strategy outlines what Herefordshire Council and our partners are doing to deliver these new duties.
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