Councils may not know how big a problem domestic violence is in their area, the Association of Directors of Social Services lead on domestic abuse said yesterday at Community Care Live Children and Families.
A “knowledge audit” – ranging more widely than obvious services such as the police and A&E departments – is useful to establish the true picture, said Elaine McHale, family services director at Wakefield Council.
Links with substance misuse and housing services, and with paramedics, will all yield vital information on the scale of domestic violence, she added.
The lack of services for perpetrators was also discussed by McHale and fellow speakers at a session on improving services for children who witness domestic violence.
Kate Iwi, children’s services manager at the Domestic Violence Intervention Project, stressed the importance of “holding perpetrators responsible for their actions”.
Perpetrator provision “can’t be at the expense of services for women and children,” warned Alison Buchanan, children’s services officer at Women’s Aid.
The development of children’s trusts could be an opportunity to commission more services for perpetrators, said McHale. But there is a “long way to go” to achieve this, she noted.