Tackling domestic violence

More than 1 million women a year are victims of domestic violence and only one in four incidents are reported to police.

These are just two of the shocking statistics in a report, Tackling Domestic Violence, to be discussed by Newcastle City Council’s Policy Cabinet on Wednesday, June 13.

Experts, victims and reformed perpetrators of domestic violence will attend the meeting and share their experiences so the council and partners can help to effectively tackle the problem.

Every year thousands of women and girls throughout the UK experience some form of domestic violence, and what the city council and its partners can do about it is the subject of the latest Policy Cabinet.

Some of the issues highlighted by the report include:

  • Domestic violence has a profound impace on individuals including children
  • Alcohol and substance misuse are often linked to domestic violence
  • There is not enough capacity to provide a "high risk" victims with intensive support
  • Agencies need to work together to intervene earlier to protect victims sooner
  • In Newcastle alone domestic violence is estimated to cost £33.6m a year

To access the full report here

Deputy leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Coun Joyce McCarty, also chairs the council’s Domestic Violence Working Group.

Coun McCarty said: “The impact of domestic violence in terms of human misery and cost to public services cannot be over estimated. It is very much a private crime which cuts across all social strata, often going unreported because victims may not feel it is a matter for the police.

“Our message is loud and clear: domestic violence is very much a police matter and victims should never hesitate to contact the police to report this crime which in families also has a devastating impact on children.

“As a city council we are determined to do everything that we can with our partners such as Northumbria Police to support and protect victims of domestic violence and bring perpetrators to justice.”

Victims of domestic violence may suffer from injury, sexually transmitted infections, anxiety, depression, substance misuse, eating disorders, self harm and suicide. Nationally, two women are murdered every week by their partner or former partner.

In Newcastle victims have been: set on fire, burnt with cigarettes, tied up, starved and beaten, forced to have sex with their partners’ associates, forced to marry men who have raped them and repeatedly kicked until they miscarried.

More than half of all reported incidents of domestic violence in Newcastle involve children who will witness abuse or directly abused themselves.

The peak age group for domestic violence is 20-24 which accounts for 21 per cent of victims in Newcastle in the last three years - the group also most likely to have small children.

In Newcastle 43 per cent of initial child protection conferences had domestic violence as a factor, in 44 per cent of these alcohol misuse was an issue, in 38 per cent drugs misuse and in 27 per cent both drugs and alcohol.

Although it is not possible to specify costs of domestic violence in Children’ Services, it is thought to be a significant part of the £16.6m per year spent on placements for looked after children.

In the Northumbria Police area there were 4.94 incidents of domestic violence per 1,000 residents in the first three months of 2011/12 - slightly higher than the ‘Most Similar Force’ average of 4.13.

But in the same period 50.6 per cent on domestic violence incidents in Northumbria involved a repeat victim - compared to an MSF average of 27.9 per cent - placing Northumbria in the highest group.

Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences MARACS are attended by statutory and voluntary organsiations to look at victims at risk of serious harm or homicide. The Newcastle MARAC sees 50 cases of high risk victims every month - an increase from 30 a month in 2007 when the MARAC was established.

The Newcastle MARAC deals with 30 plus more cases every quarter than the average across the rest of the Northumbria Police area.

MARACs are designed to protect victims but other groups which help victims include the Cabinet Working Group on Domestic Violence, and a Specialist Domestic Violence Court was set up in Newcastle in 2009.

If you are a victim of domestic violence do not suffer in silence. Contact Newcastle Women's Aid on 0800 923 2622 or 0191 2652148. In an emergency dial 999.

Policy Cabinet will start at 4pm at Newcastle Civic Centre in the Collingwood Room.