New move to cut domestic abuse

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A NEW scheme is to be launched to support victims of domestic abuse in Wigan.

Wigan Council’s Domestic Abuse Strategy will see agencies collaborate to offer help for victims and provide early intervention.

The council hopes to officially launch the service on February 14 and the domestic abuse strategy team are working on five objectives:

To improve prevention by identifying and intervening early with victims, families and offenders;

To provide universal and specialist training for Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) for high risk cases, which make up between three and five per cent of victims;

To increase the safety and protection of victims and children through Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA) and evidence-based risk assessments;

To manage perpetrators through the specialist domestic violence court and by working with female offenders from the Wigan Women’s Project.

To provide more engagement and awareness by running the End the Fear campaign and working with Wigan Athletic to provide information in its programmes to reach male victims.

The service has already transformed refuge accommodation, including 11 self contained units, with some having 24-hour support with specialist staff;

Sarah Owen, strategic lead for domestic abuse, said: “Domestic abuse remains a key issue for Wigan Council and all its partners and we recognise an importance for ensuring the safety, health and wellbeing of affected victims and children. The strategy establishes a clear guide on how we will achieve this and the activities we are undertaking to reduce levels of domestic abuse and lessen its consequences regardless of gender.

“The aim to create communities that do not tolerate this type of behaviour and provides effective support for all victims whilst holding perpetrators to account, is integral to everything we have so far accomplished.”

Latest figures reveal that the number of domestic violence incidents recorded by Greater Manchester Police has fallen from 10,511 in 2010 to 9,067 last year. But this does not include referrals from other agencies, such as social services.

The council expects this figure to go up following the launch, as more victims come forward.

The strategy is beginning to see results already, as Wigan also has the highest number of high risk MARAC referrals in Greater Manchester, with 366 cases, but it has one of the lowest repeat victim rates, with the last quarter showing 17.17 per cent,

Other authorities within the area have a higher rate, ranging from 21 per cent to 51 per cent.

The move comes at a time when DIAS, in Rodney Street, a drop-in centre for people affected by domestic abuse, was under the threat of closure unless the organisation gained more funding. Its future is still undecided, but the Domestic Abuse Strategy aims to collaborate with third-sector voluntary organisations.