A REPORT outlining the challenges facing Nottinghamshire authorities on the ongoing problem of domestic violence across the county was discussed at County Hall on Wednesday.
In December, an investigation by Chad revealed that there has been more than 6,000 reported domestic violence offences across Mansfield and Ashfield alone - which is partly due to the growing confidence in the police amongst victims.
Across the county 80 per cent of domestic violence victims in 2011/12 were women of which 81 per cent were white or white European with the age group most at risk being between 20 and 29.
The county council’s Health and Wellbeing Board discussed plans to continue tackling domestic violence across the county with challenges including
• Education programmes in Nottinghamshire schools to promote healthy relationships
• Training for healthcare staff to identify and work with victims of domestic violence
• Refuge and support services for women funded by Nottinghamshire County Council and NHS Nottinghamshire County and a 24-hour helpline for victims of domestic violence
• Specialist case workers who work with high-risk victims, which has proved to reduce domestic violence in two-thirds of cases nationally.
Lisa Haydon, director of service at Mansfield-based Nottinghamshire Independent Domestic Abuse Services (NIDAS), said it is important to keep highlighting the issue.
“It is heartening to see the Health and Wellbeing Board taking a strong angle on domestic violence and being transparent about where the challenges are,” she said.
“NIDAS have been supporting victims in Mansfield and Ashfield for the last 23 years and hope to continue to do so with new funding from the Lottery and Nottinghamshire County Council among others.
“We know the need is there with more than 9,000 incidents reported in Nottinghamshire alone last year and around 40 per cent of those being in Mansfield and Ashfield. We supported over 1,000 women and children last year.
“We can only will continue to work hard to tackle the issue and are aware we can only do this if we work in partnership with other agencies such as the Police, the Public Protection Unit, Social Care and other DV agencies.
“We are currently working with the police on strategies to support medium risk victims as we know that there is an underlying issue of homicide’s within this category.”
Coun Martin Suthers, chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “All Nottinghamshire agencies have worked hard over the last decade to improve the way they work with victims of domestic violence which encourages those suffering in silence to come forward and make themselves known.
“However, there is still room for further improvement and the agencies involved need to address the various gaps that exist to help prevent and combat this challenging issue in future.”
A Mansfield mother who fled from her abusive husband with her children and currently lives in a Nottinghamshire refuge said: “My family are settled within our new community and feel very safe and happy.
“I am not working yet but the support I have received from Women’s Aid has enabled me to move forward with my life for me and my children and I feel more confident.”