Almost 1,500 from Staffordshire seek domestic abuse support
Almost 1,500 people from Staffordshire have sought help from a new domestic abuse support service in its first three months.
Since its launch in October, across the county 1,396 victims sought help, most of them women, a quarter aged from 25 to 34. In the same period, 74 perpetrators of domestic abuse sought help, 68 of whom were men.
Around 170 victims who contacted the service were aged 17 and under, while 11 were aged 65 or over. More than half (40) of the perpetrators who sought help were aged 35 and over.
There were 128 victims from Cannock – including 27 aged 17 and under – and 13 perpetrators, with slightly less – 100 victims and two perpetrators – seeking help from the Stafford area. Ninety people sought help in Lichfield, of whom 86 were victims.
South Staffordshire district had the lowest number of cases – 63 – with 55 being victims. Stoke-on Trent had the highest.
The figures revealed by New Era also highlighted how domestic abuse can affect people of any age. Victims and perpetrators got in touch through the service's confidential helplines, online chat facility, or were referred by the police and other agencies.
Matthew Ellis, Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, said: "Whenever I meet victims who have been subjected to physical and psychological abuse, it reinforces just how important high quality support is.
"It can be utterly traumatic and while it is good news that more victims are coming forward for help, the services available to support them must be consistent wherever they live.”
County Councillor Gill Heath, cabinet member for safer communities, said: “Domestic abuse in all its forms is distressing enough without worrying whether the right support is available locally. The new service is clearly having an impact by providing support to victims, perpetrators and their families.”
New Era perpetrator services are provided through a tiered approach to rehabilitation, which includes tailored individual and group work programmes. The service also helps children under 16 who need guidance around healthy relationships.
The organisation aims to provide consistency for victims and their families who will no longer face a postcode lottery when they need specialist support. Staff will also be able to help whether a report has been made to the police or not.
The new service builds on the work of the previous service providers, Arch, Pathway and Women’s Aid and is looking to significantly reduce relationship abuse by focusing on prevention and early intervention.
The Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office has worked with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council over the last two years to improve the support available for victims no matter where they live.
Existing money for domestic abuse services from the county and city councils is being supplemented by an additional £1.8 million over three years by the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office.
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