Funding to help families affected by domestic violence

Liverpool has been awarded almost £400,000 to help victims of domestic violence and their families over the next three years.

Between April 2016 and March 2017, there were 4,622 offences of domestic violence recorded by Merseyside Police, of which 1,274 were high risk.

The Home Office cash – from the Violence against Women and Girls Transformation Fund – will be used to provide specialist domestic abuse services through the city council’s Early Help Hubs to reduce the risk and chance of being a victim, and prevent the escalation of abuse.

Staff will be hired to strengthen the focus on domestic abuse, increasing the capacity and expertise of partners to work with victims and their families.

A relationship programme will also be run for perpetrators aimed at changing their behaviour, which will be independently evaluated to assess outcomes.

Councillor Emily Spurrell, Cabinet member for Community and Safer Neighbourhoods, said: “We know that domestic abuse is something that affects many households in Liverpool and can have a devastating impact, not just on those directly involved but also their families and friends.

“More than a third of women and girls experience some form of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime and most of the time it is from someone they know. Violence in any form towards women is not inevitable or predictable – it can and must be stopped.

“Domestic abuse does not just affect the victim, but children as well and Department of Health figures show at least 750,000 children a year witness it, with many being abused by the same perpetrator.

“Our funding will be used to support families through our Early Help hubs meaning a range of partners will be able to offer support to both adults and children.

“We know that domestic abuse is highest in the north and central areas of the city so we will be initially piloting our work there before rolling it out across the rest of the city.”

Due to underreporting of domestic violence, it is estimated that in 2015 there were approximately 14,500 female victims aged between 16 and 59 in Liverpool.

The economic and social costs of this are around £45 million a year, related to physical and mental health services, criminal justice, social services, housing, civil, legal and employment bills.

Staff will work with other organisations including GPs, schools, housing associations, Children’s Centres and domestic abuse agencies to share information and provide support for those affected.

The report recommending acceptance of the funding will be considered by the Cabinet on Friday 15 September.

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