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Enough is enough – tackling domestic violence

July 17, 2013

Every year more than one million women suffer abuse. One in four report it to the police. In the North East the picture is no better. Domestic violence accounts for 25 per cent of all violent crime in the Northumbria Police force area. It costs public services an estimated £33 million to deal with – but the human cost is even more devastating.

Victims are subjected to terrible crimes including verbal and physical assaults, sexual violence, rape, financial abuse and psychological trauma. This of course puts them in grave danger, and the effects can stay with them for years, sometimes even life – destroying their confidence, trust and self-esteem.

Shelter found that 40 per cent of all homeless women were homeless due to domestic violence. They are more inclined to abuse drugs and alcohol in a bid to cope with their persecution. Children who witness domestic violence are also more likely to end up in care or need specialist drug and alcohol treatments.

In short the financial and human cost of domestic violence is enormous so we all have a legal and moral duty to report it and prevent it. We must change attitudes and behaviours that foster violence and intervene quickly. Victims, and their children, need support, and we as the local authority need to work with partners to provide the best possible service with the limited resources we have.

I recognise our current service could be better. The complicated funding arrangements have prevented our service from thriving. I know this because we have talked to more than 100 victims before re-examining our service. So we will create a single commissioning budget dedicated to all services that respond to domestic violence such as housing, community safety and grant budgets and use this to develop a complete service. View the Cabinet report here.

We will support women and children with purpose-built accommodation with an investment of £1.8m; crisis support, and a 24-hour helpline offering assessment, advice, outreach, resettlement and on-site help. There will be a single point of access and services tailored to the client in their own home. We will work with statutory partners to improve care by coordinating our services, raise awareness of the problem, share best practice and set up a joint commissioning group to get value for money.

The vast majority of victims are female – but more males are coming forward too – so we will support them through existing housing and develop support while carrying out research to find out the full picture.

We are determined to tackle domestic violence. We will not rest until every woman in Newcastle has access to safe, effective and rapid support. For too long, too many women have suffered in silence. They don’t need to and we won’t let them.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. melanie permalink
    July 17, 2013 12:30 pm

    Been a victim and my support wernt that good I was too scared to leave my home after finding the currage to chuck my ex out I applied to move via councils to be nearer my family…no help I then had to go private and even now I’m moved I still panic especially when again lack of help keeping my 2 sons safe from him court agreed for contact removed the injunction and every time I dropped my boys in town in a mutual place busy I got myself in a state that I had family to come along and stand a distance 9 times out of 10 I got abuse or my sons did contact now stopped as he was mentally abusing my sons like I told the judge that will happen and now my boys are suffering! And he’s taken me back to court to control my boys again, now I want to move further away and no doubt I won’t have any support to keep my sons safe no matter what abuse we go through and how far we go it will always take effect somehow my oldest son suffers badly and I get no help drs told me he will grow out of it and to use reward charts bla bla bla my boys have everythnk they need and more I disipline all the same my son needs help and am turned away,, no wonder women and men dnt come forward!

    • Cllr Joyce McCarty permalink
      July 19, 2013 2:55 pm

      Melanie,

      Thank you for finding the courage to share with us your experience. I am sorry that you have felt at times that you have not had the support that you and your sons need, but by talking so openly hopefully it will give other survivors of domestic violence the encouragement to come forward and get support. Your comments will be noted and used to help shape our new approach to tackling this crime. Please don’t give up hope of getting the help that you and your children need. If you visit our webpage you will see we offer support for mothers and children to help them recover from abuse.

  2. R Winward permalink
    July 17, 2013 1:37 pm

    Thank you for that positive action plan. It does leave some gaps though. What is the Council going to do to prevent domestic abuse happening and to support perpetrators to change? This may be in the report but the link only gives access to the meeting agenda.

    • Cllr Joyce McCarty permalink
      July 19, 2013 2:56 pm

      The full report is now on the link, thanks for pointing this out. As you will see our approach to working with perpetrators is outlined alongside some of our plans to prevent domestic abuse.

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