Strategy to tackle 'sickening' domestic abuse

A "sickening" high level of domestic violence and abuse in Walsall is set to be tackled under a new crackdown.

Walsall Council bosses have approved a new Domestic Abuse Strategy. Photo by George Makin
Walsall Council bosses have approved a new Domestic Abuse Strategy. Photo by George Makin

Walsall Council bosses approved a new Domestic Abuse Strategy which is aimed at supporting victims, increasing confidence in the system and bringing offenders to justice.

The authority will spend £700,000 Government funding over the new couple of years trying to strengthen services to deal with the growing issue.

In September, it was revealed there had been more than 5,700 reports of domestic abuse in Walsall in 2020/21 compared with 4,674 the previous year, a rise of 23 percent.

In 2018/19, there had been 3,600 abuse cases reported to Walsall Police.

Other statistics reported 79 percent of the victims were female and 21 percent were men.

Domestic abuse accounted for 31.5 per cent of all violent crime in Walsall while 20 percent of all youth crime is related to domestic abuse.

Councillor Garry Perry, deputy leader for resilient communities, said: "Domestic abuse has to be the scourge of our society.

"It’s unpalatable we continue to live in an age and society where domestic abuse seems to be an upward trend with no foresight and no thought of the consequences to individuals and families affected.

Domestic abuse, under the terms of the new bill, is purposed to give more support to those affected but more importantly to make sure tougher action and those consequences can be dealt with by the full force of the law.

Councillor Perry said: "It’s defined as an incident or pattern or incidents of controlling and coercive behaviour and that wasn’t in the bill before. It’s important to recognise it is now.

"Threatening, degrading and violent behaviour including sexual violence in the majority of cases by either the partner or ex partners and also can be by family members or carers.

"It is very common in the vast majority of cases that it is experienced by women and perpetrated by men, although that’s not exclusive and we must recognise men can also fall victim.

"For many years, I’ve heard many debates and seen many papers and it’s really sickening that today we see in Walsall increased cases and a lot of those are repeat offences as well.

"It’s time Walsall as a whole calls out this scourge. It is important we all do that and act and seek to follow through what is set out in this strategy.

"Calling out is just the first step. More often than not, we can support the victims for so long but it is only secure when getting it to court and ensuring the people affected have the confidence in the system when they’ve made a complaint.

"This strategy reinforces what is set out in the bill. It is our local response to what is required.

"Any changes we make has to be signed off by Government and I think that is important. It doesn’t allow us to divert from the core issue.

"That is to target offenders, bring them to justice and those affected can feel confident we are on their side.

"There will be significant investment of over £700,000 put in over the next couple of years to help us do that.

"Every penny spent tackling this issue will be well worth it if we can reduce that fear many people as I am talking are experiencing."

Adrian Andrew, Walsall Council’s deputy leader said: "We are very much looking at the housing strategy for victims of domestic abuse because having a safe, secure and confidential residence is a huge step forward for many recovering from this dreadful act."

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