Government targets fail to conquer domestic violence

Councils are failing to meet government targets to reduce repeat
victims of domestic violence, a Local Government Association report
says, writes Shirley Kumar.

Highlighting the outcome of the first round of local public service
agreements (LPSA) which began in 2000, the LGA’s Targeting
Abuse report found that reducing repeat victimisation was the
“greatest challenge”.

The report recommends councils to take the lead in developing
transparent partnerships, to be incorporated within the second
round of LPSA that began in April 2004.

However, Clare Ladlow, integrated service manager at Northampton
council’s Sunflower Centre, said that would not be enough.

She said the government’s consultation paper on improving
best value performance indicators on domestic violence does not
protect women with multiple needs, especially mental health or drug
and alcohol misuse.

She said it was ironic that women’s refuges excluded those
with mental health, drug or alcohol issues, even though these
problems are linked to domestic violence.

A Women’s Aid report: Struggle to Survive, reveals only one
fifth of the 216 refuge organisations who responded to the survey,
said they would accommodate women with additional mental health
needs but only if space was available. But nearly 60 per cent of
women mental health service users experience domestic violence, the
survey shows.

Woman who reported domestic violence were also twice as likely as
other women to misuse substances. They too were excluded, the
Women’s Aid report says. It recommends better inter-agency
co-operation and for refugees to start dealing with women with
additional support needs complete with basic training in mental
health and substance misuse.

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