To receive a report on Domestic Abuse from Shan Kilby, Domestic Violence Co-ordinator.
RECEIVED a report on Domestic Abuse from Shan Kilby, Domestic Violence Co-ordinator.
(i) The report updated the Scrutiny Panel on the partnership response to domestic abuse including recent developments nationally and locally;
(ii) Domestic abuse can have a devastating effect on victims and their families hence why this is a priority piece of work;
(iii) There continues to be a rise in recorded incidences by the police. Since 2011/12 an increase of 47.4% had been seen;
(iv) The vast majority of Domestic Abuse offences fall within the Violence against the Person (VAP) category (approx.80%);
(v) From Jan 2015-Sept 2015 there have been 2550 domestic incidents that the police have been called to. The comparison with the previous 12 months is set to increase by about 21%. There are challenges around resourcing to meet this demand;
(vi) Shan updated Members on recent developments around Domestic Abuse. The first peer support domestic abuse group launched in December 2015. This is being co-ordinated by volunteers in Enfield and aims to provide peer support for women who have or are experiencing domestic abuse and to reduce isolation. The aim is to extend this across the borough and for a network of groups to be available to residents;
(vii) Another recent development was the Serious Crime Bill which received Royal Assent on 8th March 2015 and became the Serious Crime Act. This contains legislation for coercive control which is now a criminal offence, having come into force on the 29th December 2015;
(viii) Information was provided on Funding which included details on a recent successful bid to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). This is a collaboration with numerous partners which include the London boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Haringey and Islington. Enfield is the lead for this project which has secured £100,000 to help victims access support and refuge who have complex needs including mental health;
(ix) Shan spoke about future work and advised that there are numerous plans in place to continue developments in Enfield. Training had started to be provided to all multi-agency partnerships on coercive control. Domestic abuse training is mandated for all Children’s Social Workers and also delivered through the Safeguarding Boards for Children’s and Adults;
(x) Training will be extended to the business sector in 2016, particularly focusing on areas where victims may disclose e.g. hairdressers, nail salons, banks and dental surgeries;
(xi) In conclusion Shan explained that the aim is to ensure that there are increased opportunities for help seeking and providing help and advice across our communities. This is to enable victims and their families to access help and support at an earlier time, reduce repeat victimisation and reduce the overall impact on the victim and services.
The following questions/issues were:
· Discussions took place regarding the increase in the reporting of Domestic Violence. There were a number of reasons for this including increased confidence in Police colleagues, better understanding across communities of the support and help available which has been achieved through campaigns run by the Local Authorities, as well as much more reporting across the media and social networking platforms;
· A question was asked as to how success in tackling Domestic Violence is measured. Shan advised that the measure is in preventing repeat victimisation and the aim was to continue to improve on this;
· Councillor Doyle asked if there was any pattern in the age group of victims. It was advised that DV (Domestic Violence) is regarded very much as a gender crime, with 16-24 year old females being a particularly high risk category. It was noted however that men were also victims of DV.It was also recognised that certain vulnerable groups posed a higher risk, for example disabled and deaf women;
· In response to a question asking when a Safeguarding Child issue would become a DV issue Members were advised that 70% of referrals through the Single Point of Entry route (SPOE) included a Domestic Violence element. This however was not necessarily as a victim, but could be as a result of witnessing DV. In order to separate figures for perpetrators and victims each individual case would need to be investigated as these were often very complex;
· Shan provided information regarding the working relationship with Community Partnerships and other such groups and spoke about the work which took place with Voluntary Sector Partners, the Faith Forum as well as the Parent Engagement Panel and the new Peer Support Group;
· Discussions took place around the new Coercive Control Law and how this opened more doors when dealing with DV. More work would take place with communities to provide further help and advice on what sort of behaviour is and isn’t acceptable. Superintendent Robinson spoke about how the Police were dealing with this new area of business. He advised that the CPS had produced guidelines which were being worked through, frontline officers were being educated on the new legislation and training was being rolled out to multi-agency partnerships;
· Information was provided on the provision of Refuges in Enfield and nationally and the way in which these worked. For example some Refuges would not accept boys over the age of 12/13, whilst others had a policy of not taking in women over a certain gestation in pregnancy due to practical reasons. Lots of Refuges do offer family units. Nationally, a shortage of Refuge places is an issue. In excess of 100 women a day are being turned away due to lack of spaces.
· The Chair asked what was being done to prevent Domestic Violence in the first place as she felt the report focused on what happens once it has been recognised. Shan assured Members that a lot of work did take place around prevention and said that a good place to start is to tackle a culture issue around the acceptance of certain behaviour. She said that the teaching of PSHE in schools will include understanding healthy relationships and consent. Children need access to what is and isn’t normal and acceptable behaviour. It was agreed therefore that education is key to preventing DV as well as continuing to ensure that information and advice is accessible to communities and this was an area that would continue to be prioritised and developed.