Shock number of domestic violence cases exposed

editorial image

AN astonishing 46,000 acts of domestic violence are committed in Wigan each year, it was claimed today.

A report by the council’s building stronger communities partnership reveals that last year, there were more than 9.500 allegations of domestic abuse - but it is believed as many as 35,500 behind closed doors go unreported.

The report also suggests that there may be around 10,000 incidents with injury passing through GP surgeries, and 2,200 through A&E department, with the cost to health and support services estimated at £31m.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act, meanwhile, reveal that 7,016 domestic violence incidents were logged by police in 2011/12, with officers attending 2,462 incidents immediately and 3,313 as a priority.

A total of 587 Wiganers were prosecuted for domestic violence in 2011/12, a slight rise from the previous year but a fall from 647 in 2009/10.

Other data reveals that 41 per cent of violent incidents are domestic abuse related and it accounts for 7.7 per cent of all crime.

As a result, Wigan Council is now in the process of rolling out its new co-ordinated community response model (CCRM) across the borough.

The biggest change sees the formation of the Integrated Safeguarding and Public Protection team (ISAPP), consisting of the police public protection unit; children’s social care; Wigan and Leigh Housing and Neighbourhood Anti-Social Behaviour Unit; probation; drug and alcohol services and Independent Domestic Violence Advocates service,

All agencies will be housed in one location - Bamfurlong police station. There are also plans for experts on children’s health, midwifery and Gateway to be located at the site.

The new ISAPP team will share information, jointly risk assess, plan and effectively manage domestic abuse cases to prevent abuse escalating and causing serious harm to victims and their children.

They will also work with offenders of domestic abuse, signposting them into treatment or care pathways to prevent them from re-offending.

Using the information gathered, front line officers will respond to the issues highlighted on a daily basis through home visits to help victims and sign post them to the appropriate agency for help and support.

Nuala O’Rourke, programme manager for Confident Families at Wigan Council, said: “We have already seen the benefits of the co-location.

“In the past where we have been called to an incident and needed to send two people out, as the team is all together, it is more efficient and we make savings.

“We are offering a holistic approach, looking at children’s wellbeing, substance misuse and housing, We can now provide the right intervention at the right time, determining high and low risk cases. We can see clients that day instead of them having to wait two weeks.

“We are moving to working with the family’s first point of contact to gain a trusting relationship, so we are training those workers to support the clients further. They will be able to risk assess and plan appropriate action to ensure the underlying principles of CCRM are embedded thus preventing escalation and repeat victimisation.”

Coun Kevin Anderson, member of the Building Stronger Communities Partnership, said: “This new partnership is good news for the borough, with an array of organisations working side by side enabling greater efficiency in responding to those identified as at risk and reducing the rate of reoffending.”

The FOI figures show that, although the number of incidents remains high, domestic violence in Wigan is falling slightly.