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Local authorities should be given a greater role in tackling domestic violence according to a new NLGN pamphlet.
The think tank argues that councils are best placed to bring together cross-cutting agencies in areas of criminal justice, health and social exclusion to deliver strategies to reduce levels of domestic violence. According to Home Office figures, one incident of domestic violence is reported to police every minute.
Whilst the pamphlet recognises that central Government has raised the profile of domestic violence policy, it argues that its focus remains too heavily based around criminal justice. It also voices concern that the recent splitting of the Home Office may reduce the focus on domestic violence policy.
Domestic Issues: The Role of Local Authorities in Tackling Domestic Abuse argues that councils must extend and support the role of domestic violence co-ordinator and raise awareness and understanding of cross-cutting domestic violence issues across all service departments and members.
Domestic Violence Partnerships should be formed to create the space and opportunity for cross-service working. To achieve this, local authorities must encourage and demand input from all relevant local agencies such as local magistrates, health services, housing associations, police, women’s workers, community groups, education authorities, and religious groups.
Researcher, Anthony Brand argues:
“Domestic violence is very much a local issue. The social, cultural and environmental factors that influence DV in Tower Hamlets may not be the same as those in Torquay. These factors can and should influence the way that resources and services are targeted locally. Services need the flexibility to design local services around local need”.
“If time and resource were dedicated to improving responses to domestic violence, local authorities could save millions and improve the lives of everyone in their constituencies, not just victims. And there are wider benefits for local authorities taking the lead on this, benefits that extend beyond the domestic violence agenda”.