Funding To Combat Domestic Violence

An initiative pioneered in Wales to combat domestic violence is to receive a cash boost of nearly £2m, Home Secretary John Reid announces today. The Government marks the start of domestic violence month by providing £1.85m to help increase the number of action teams across Wales and England who tackle the problem.

The money will allow the 40 Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (Maracs) that have already been set up to continue operating, and also to support training for a further 60 by March next year.

In Cardiff, the first place to hold Maracs, the level of reported repeat victimisation dropped from 32% to less than 10% between 2004 and 2006, the Government said.

Mr Reid, announcing the cash boost, said, “Domestic violence is a terrible crime that seriously affects too many people in our communities. Public protection is my top priority, on the streets or in our homes. The Government is committed to ensuring victims are given the support they need and people who commit domestic violence are bought to justice.”

Domestic violence is a crime that affects one in four women and one in six men. Maracs involve police, probation, education, health, housing and the voluntary sector, working together to share information. The action teams build up a comprehensive picture of the abuse and agree action to best support and protect a victim and their family.

Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland said, “No one should have to live with the fear of violence and abuse in their own homes and throughout March the Government is looking to raise awareness of this terrible crime.

“Maracs are the latest development in the Government’s work to ensure that all the agencies a domestic violence victim comes into contact with are co-ordinated in order to ensure that victims are individually supported and protected from the moment they call the police, through the court process and beyond. I urge anyone who is suffering this cowardly crime to come forward and seek the help that is out there.”

The Government has introduced specialist domestic violence courts and there are already more than 60 across Wales and England. These courts have bought in measures including dedicated police and prosecutors as well as separate entrances and waiting areas so that victims do not run into their attackers.