Town named hotspot for domestic violence

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VIOLENCE and abuse in family homes across Doncaster is exposed in a report which reveals the borough to be a national hotspot for domestic assaults.

Official statistics show 18 acts of domestic violence in the borough are reported every day - and professionals who deal with the aftermath warn it is only the tip of the iceberg and are calling for more resources to be put into dealing with the issue.

The report is due to go before the borough’s Adults and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel tomorrow.

Karen Johnson, the authority’s assistant director for communities, said in her report: “Doncaster has more reports of domestic abuse incidents to the police than most other areas of the UK – around 6,700 reported incidents per year; over 120 per week; 18 per day.

“Domestic abuse is massively under reported; a conservative estimate could be that there are well over 30,000 incidents per year in Doncaster.

“Many children are affected by domestic abuse and we know in Doncaster domestic violence is a predominant feature in serious case reviews and child protection cases.

Referrals to the MARAC - the borough’s Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference - are high and demand is outstripping resources to deal with these high risk cases, said added.

“We currently have four Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) and we are advised that based on the number of high risk cases there should be six,” she said.

It is estimated annual cost to the taxpayer is between £13 million and £16.3 million.

The figures follow a review which was carried out earlier this year to try to draw a full picture of the position in Doncaster compared to other parts of the country.

The council has now appointed two organisations to look at the issue in the borough to try to tackle the problem, the NSPCC and an independent research organisation called the Kafka Brigade.

The report describes the current structure of services as fragmented, lacking a strong overarching vision and a shared understanding of need, but says there is a commitment within organisations in the borough to tackle domestic abuse.

Now a new plan has been drawn up to try to deal with the problem.

The plan also aims to act quickly to deal with people who are behind domestic violence – targeting the top 10 repeat offenders.

Joan Beck, Doncaster Council’s director for adults and communities said: “Doncaster Council is fully committed to tackling domestic violence and our latest figures show that more and more people are having confidence to come forward and report incidents.” If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse contact 01302 326411 or Police on 101 or in an emergency call 999.