Domestic violence worsens

Silhouette of a woman protecting herself from her partner. Picture posed by models.
Silhouette of a woman protecting herself from her partner. Picture posed by models.
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VIOLENCE and abuse in family homes across Doncaster is exposed in a report which reveals the borough is a national hotspot for domestic assaults.

Official statistics show 18 acts of domestic violence in the borough are reported every day. Professionals who deal with the aftermath warn it is only the tip of the iceberg and are calling for more resources to be put into dealing with the issue.

The report is due to go before the council’s Adults and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel on Friday.

Karen Johnson, the authority’s assistant director for communities, said in her report: “Doncaster has more reports of domestic abuse incidents to the police than most other areas of the UK – around 6,700 reported incidents per year, over 120 per week, 18 per day.

“Domestic abuse is massively under reported. A conservative estimate could be that there are well over 30,000 incidents per year in Doncaster. Many children are affected by domestic abuse and we know in Doncaster domestic violence is a predominant feature in serious case reviews and child protection cases.”

Referrals to the MARAC - the borough’s Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference - are high and demand is outstripping resources to deal with high risk cases, the report adds.

The council has four Independent Domestic Violence Advocates - but should have six. It is estimated annual cost to the taxpayer is between £13 million and £16.3 million.

The figures follow a review earlier this year to try to draw a full picture of the position in Doncaster compared to other parts of the country.

The council has now appointed two organisations to try to tackle the problem - the NSPCC and an independent research organisation called the Kafka Brigade.

The report describes the current structure of services as fragmented, lacking a strong overarching vision