‘Appalling’ domestic abuse statistics

‘Appalling’ domestic abuse statistics

‘Appalling’ domestic abuse statistics

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

NEARLY 7,000 Oxfordshire children were caught up in domestic abuse incidents last year, figures show.

Numbers supplied in a new report also reveal that 1,916 children across Oxfordshire were subject to two or more incidents in the 2013/14 year.

Of those, it said 10 children in the county were reported by Thames Valley Police to have been involved in a catalogue of more than 10 separate incidents of domestic abuse over the year.

Overall police data shows there were 9,798 incidents of domestic abuse involving children, according to the Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Strategy Group report.

The figures come after Oxfordshire County Council said it was planning to axe 40 per cent of funding from services targeting domestic abuse as part of its budget cuts.

Oxfordshire Safer Communities Partnership had the report presented to them on Monday.

Its chairman, Vale of White Horse district councillor Bill Jones, said: “Naturally I am appalled by the statistics and we will do all we can. As a committee we have to zero down to the people with responsibility for these issues. I was a police officer and far more is being doing now than it was when I first encountered the problem 40 years ago.

“I hope it is being given the necessary importance because it is something we need to get a grip of.”

Support groups are provided across the county for adult victims of domestic abuse and children, but are facing cuts of 40 per cent – £132,000.

As a result, the Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline, which was used 2,329 times in 2013/14, will be reviewed.

Most of these calls come from Oxford, with 1,139 calls coming from the city.

Romy Briant, chairman of the Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Strategy Group, said the future of the service is uncertain.

She said: “The current consultation recommends that there should be a 40 per cent cut to our service – which means a complete cut in funding to our helpline, which is absolutely key.

“I don’t know how that will link in with possible funding coming from elsewhere.”

Ms Briant was speaking during a meeting of the Oxfordshire Safer Communities Partnership held in County Hall on Monday.

She told the meeting that there are an estimated 22,000 victims of domestic abuse in Oxfordshire.

Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Strategy Group was set up in 2004 by the county’s statutory and voluntary sectors to tackle the issue.

The cut is part of a wider £1.5m cut to services which will also affect homeless hostels.

Oxfordshire’s domestic abuse service – including the helpline and support – is run by A2Dominion, which also runs homeless hostel Simon House in Oxford.

Group director of supported housing, Pam Vasir, said: “The consultation will continue until September and we are not able to comment on the impact to our domestic abuse services until we know its outcome.”

County council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “The housing-related support savings proposal, which includes a 40 per cent proposed saving for relevant services for those who experience domestic abuse, has been put forward for comment with no decisions having been made.

“A review will take place following the consultation, which will involve users, providers and stakeholders and a further public consultation will then be conducted on its recommendations regarding services for those who experience domestic abuse.”

Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline is available on 0800 731 0055, Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm. It is freephone and will not show on telephone bills.

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