Shropshire’s Domestic Abuse Strategy endorsed by Cabinet
Shropshire Council’s Cabinet this week (Wednesday 25 July 2012) agreed to fully support the newly-revised Domestic Abuse Strategy for Shropshire.
Shropshire’s Domestic Abuse strategy for 2011-2014 has been developed by Shropshire’s Countywide Domestic Abuse Forum, a multi-agency partnership that includes ‘specialist’ domestic abuse services: Refuge, South Shropshire Domestic Violence Services, West Mercia Women’s Aid; Shropshire Council services including housing support services, safeguarding, education, children’s centre services, community safety; West Mercia Police; Shropshire Fire and Rescue; and Community Health.
Domestic abuse is a complex issue and its far-reaching effects require a co-ordinated and integrated multi-agency response. The Shropshire Countywide Domestic Abuse Forum, part of the Safer Stronger Communities Partnership, has developed the Domestic Abuse Strategy which sets out what agencies in Shropshire will be doing in order to prevent domestic abuse taking place; protect the victim and their families, offering support and exploring options for the perpetrator. The four key objectives of the strategy, which will focus on the themes of prevention and early intervention, protection and justice, and support for victims, are:-
- To raise awareness of domestic abuse
- To ensure that people affected by domestic abuse have access to appropriate advice and support at an early stage.
- To drive forward the good practice developed in tackling domestic abuse in Shropshire
- To ensure all victims of domestic abuse in Shropshire have access to appropriate services.
In Shropshire it is likely that over 30,000 women will experience domestic abuse during their lifetime. In addition to this domestic abuse, both nationally and locally, is significantly under-reported, and those people who experience domestic abuse will often keep it from family and friends and are unlikely to report abuse to public bodies.
The strategy sets out how the Forum intends to work with partners to develop and improve existing services, projects and policies to support victims and their families affected by domestic abuse, and help to support increasingly effective domestic abuse services and projects over the next three years. These will include:
- Developing the Freedom Shropshire website – a dedicated site to enable people to access relevant and up-to-date information on domestic abuse
- Developing resources and guidance to increase domestic abuse awareness in schools
- Developing a supported community forum for survivors of domestic abuse.
The strategy has been shaped through consultation with both survivors of domestic abuse as well as members of the county and local domestic abuse forums, Shropshire Specialist Domestic Violence Court Management Group and the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference.
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for public protection, said:
“It is vital that we keep domestic abuse at the top of our agenda. Shropshire’s Domestic Abuse Strategy for 2011-2014 represents our commitment to tackle the issue head on.
“Abuse in the home is one of the hardest issues to talk about and it often takes tremendous courage for victims to come forward, seek support, and talk about their experiences. Domestic abuse effects both female and male victims, as well as the children whose development is profoundly affected if they are exposed to witnessing domestic abuse.
“We need to ensure we are working together to help those who suffer domestic abuse and sexual violence in every way we can within the resources available to us.”
Mo Williams, South Shropshire Domestic Violence Services, said:
“Domestic violence is a crime. It can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic background, or level of education.”
We want to reassure women, men and young people of Shropshire who have suffered or witnessed abuse that we are ready to listen, and will do everything we can to ensure this important step is safe and as easy as possible. If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse please call West Mercia Women’s Aid DV Helpline on 0800 7831 359 or in an emergency dial 999.
Shropshire domestic violence service contact details are:
- Shrewsbury and north Shropshire – 07919 478581
- Shrewsbury and south Shropshire –01694 722440
Domestic Abuse can have a devastating effect. It ruins lives, breaks apart families and has an impact across generations. Much has been done over recent years to increase protection for victims and to punish their perpetrators. However, there is, and continues to be, a depressing list of statistics that can be referred to when domestic abuse is discussed. Statistics such as:
- One in four women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime
- Two women a week are killed in the UK by their partner or ex-partner
- Every year, one million women experience at least one incident of domestic abuse, nearly 20,000 women a week
- 40% of young people have experienced domestic violence in their relationships
- One in five teenage girls has been raped by a teenage boyfriend
- Nearly one million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year in the UK.
(Source: Home Office website October 2009 and Crime in England and Wales 2006/07 report)
West Mercia Police figures for Shropshire indicate that 2,352 cases of domestic abuse were reported in 2008–2009. National research estimates that domestic abuse places a cost per capita ‘tax’ of some £143 per head of population, based on costs in 2005.