Domestic violence on the agenda for Notts health board

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A REPORT outlining the challenges facing Nottinghamshire authorities on the issue of domestic violence is being discussed at the county council’s health and wellbeing board.

Crime data indicates that there has been an increasing number of reported domestic violence offences over the last five years, which is believed to be partly due to the growing confidence in the Police amongst victims.

Around 80 percent of domestic violence victims in 2011/12 were female of which 81 percent were white or white European. The age group most at risk of domestic violence is aged 20-29.

Mansfield, Ashfield, Gedling and Bassetlaw districts exceed the county average on domestic violence rates.

There were six domestic homicides in the county during the period of March 2011 to November 2012.

The report outlines the work that is carried out in the county to reduce and tackle domestic violence in the county, 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.

Challenges include:

• Inconsistent treatment of domestic violence victims from GPs, Accident and Emergency staff and other primary care clinicians

• Limited services for domestic violence victims at medium risk

• No long-term funding for education programmes for schools in areas where domestic violence is a significant issue.

The report recommends that an action plan is required to address the identified challenges to be considered by the committee in three months time.

Councillor 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.”