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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