A PIONEERING scheme to tackle domestic abuse in Wigan has been launched by a team of public sector agencies.
Based at Bamfurlong Police Station – the Integrated Safeguarding and Public Protection (ISAPP) team – is the first of its kind in the country.
The joint initiative is hoped to increase support and response times for victims and enable officers to focus on prevention.
In the borough last year, Greater Manchester Police dealt with more than 6,500 cases of domestic abuse, an increase of 70 from the previous year.
Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Tony Lloyd said: “We all have a responsibility to stand together against domestic abuse and this new unit is a positive step forward.
“This is exactly the partnership working I want to build to make sure we are doing the very best for victims and give them the confidence to speak out and ask for help.
“It will see police, children’s services and other agencies located in one place, working together and sharing information.”
The ISAPP unit will also include probation, drug and alcohol workers along with independent domestic violence advocates.
Plans to have experts on children’s health and midwifery on site are also in place.
Council leader Peter Smith said the ISAPP team had been a long term plan from the local authority.
He added: “Developing this joint service has been an aspiration of ours for some time.
“I firmly believe that this ‘one team’ approach will make us a more effective team, with resources concentrated in one location enabling us to provide a better service for the people of Wigan borough.
“Our focus is to prevent domestic abuse from occurring in the first place.”
Part of the new team’s role will be to work with offenders of domestic abuse, signposting them into treatment or care pathways to prevent them from re-offending.
PCC Lloyd recently backed the End The Fear campaign, aimed to encourage victims to come forward to report abuse.
Despite increased numbers of reported cases in the borough, concerns remain that victims are not coming forward.
He added: “We need to give victims confidence to report domestic violence incidents.
“Raising awareness of the help and support that’s available to break the cycle of abuse and help them rebuild their lives is crucial.”
Help is available for victims of domestic violence. Visit www.endthefear.co.uk for more information or call Greater Manchester’s domestic violence helpline on 0161 636 7525.