Govt launches new initiatives on domestic violence

The home secretary John Reid will release £2 million additional funding for initiatives tackling domestic violence as part of the government’s contribution to Domestic Violence Month.

A further 60 multi agency risk assessment conferences will be established and the existing 40 centres will receive additional funding to continue their work. The conferences bring together police, probation, education, health and housing services to share information and work with the voluntary sector on individual cases.

A pilot in Cardiff has seen the level of reported repeat incidents fall from 32 per cent to under ten per cent in two years and Mr Reid now wants the initiative rolled out across the country.

“Domestic violence is a terrible crime that seriously affects too many people in our communities,” the home secretary said.

He continued: “Public protection is my top priority, on the streets or in our homes. The government is committed to ensuring that victims are given the support they need and people who commit domestic violence are bought to justice.”

To mark Domestic Violence Month, the Home Office is also launching the Enough campaign, urging friends and relatives of domestic violence victims to report offences.

Domestic violence victims often confide in someone, the Home Office notes, and a new poster, radio and TV campaign will encourage these confidantes to go to the National Domestic Violence helpline.

Home Office minister Baroness Scotland said: “Everyone should be able to live without the fear of violence and abuse in their own homes. But we know that for too many people, especially women and children, that fear is present everyday.

“There is no excuse for domestic violence. This campaign looks to raise awareness of the help and support that is available and urges victims, and their friends and families, to come forward and report crimes.”

The government has already introduced a series of legislative and practical measures to provide greater protection for victims of domestic violence, Baroness Scotland said. Mr Reid concurred, reporting that domestic violence has fallen by 64 per cent in the past ten years.

Among the measures introduced is the introduction of specialist domestic violence courts. More than 60 such courts have opened in England and Wales, incorporating special measures such as separate entrances and waiting areas for victims.

Successful convictions have risen to 71 per cent in specialist courts, compared to a national average of 65 per cent, up from 46 per cent in December 2003.

The government estimates that one in four women and one in six men are victims of domestic violence.