South Tyneside Domestic Abuse Strategy 2022-2025 (2022)

Table of Contents
Introduction Foreword Voice of the Victim Voice of the Child Domestic Abuse Champion Every Day South Tyneside strategic aims and objectives Introduction Aims Domestic Abuse Act 2021 Definition of Domestic Abuse Domestic Abuse Notice and Domestic Abuse Order What we know Children and Families Child to Parent/Carer violence Adult to Adult Abuse Domestic Abuse and Older Adults Priority groups Domestic Homicide Reviews What our young people and victims are telling us Quotes from Service Users on the Benefits Quotes from Service users about the Challenges Quotes from Service users on improvements that could be made Key themes and priorities Culture Shift/Changing Attitudes Prevention Provision of Services and Support Engaging Perpetrators Partnership Working Needs assessment summary and recommendations Number recommendation Assets Gaps Our commissioning approach to delivering the Strategy Resources and assets Lived experience Links to other strategies Key Deliverables Culture change and prevention Outcomes What we already do/have What we are going to do Provision of services and support Outcomes What we already do/have What we are going to do Engaging perpertrators Outcomes What we already do/have What we are going to do Partnership working Outcomes What we already do/have What we are going to do Governance Monitoring I am Free Appendix A - Northumbria Police DEI Toolkit Protected Characteristics Diversity, equality and inclusion Appendix B: Implementation - Domestic Abuse Act 2021 Stage 1: April – October 2021 Stage 2: November 2021 – May 2022 Stage 3: Early 2023 Appendix C: Support services available Local services National services
South Tyneside Council

Published January 2022 An accessible document from southtyneside.gov.uk

Introduction

Domestic abuse is extremely common and has a devastating impact on physical and mental health, emotional wellbeing, housing, finances, work and, where children are impacted, their schooling and educational attainment. It can also result in victims and families moving away from their own homes, local community and support networks, in order for them to feel and be safe. Sadly, domestic abuse can also result in death, leaving a devastating impact on the families and friends of victims.

The new Domestic Abuse Act places a specific duty on us as a Council and our wider partners to provide appropriate support to victims of domestic abuse and their children. This support is paramount in helping victims rebuild their lives and recover from the distress of domestic abuse. In addition to this duty, we also believe we have a duty to prevent domestic abuse and shift the culture in society towards a zero tolerance of domestic abuse.

We will work together to ensure that service provision is improved and deliver on the key priorities and themes included within this strategy. This is an ambitious ask and will no doubt be challenging, however we will all strive towards improving the lives of those affected by domestic abuse.

I would like to acknowledge the members of our Domestic Abuse Partnership Board, Domestic Abuse Working Group and the Domestic Abuse Forum, for their commitment and invaluable contribution, insight and experience in developing this strategy.

South Tyneside Domestic Abuse Strategy 2022-2025 (1)

Foreword

Voice of the Victim

As a victim of abuse, I lived in dread of never knowing when the next attack would come. Very often experiencing conflicting emotions such as fear, anger, shame, resentment, sadness and powerlessness.

As many victims before me, I became increasingly isolated from my friends and family and became increasingly dependent on the abuser. For such a long time I believed I was weak and submissive. However, with support I realised that I was quite the opposite. It takes a huge amount of strength to live with an abusive partner and even more strength coupled with immeasurable courage to leave. With this support, I managed to escape my abuser and have learned to rebuild my life.

Julie Robinson
Chair, South Tyneside Domestic Abuse Forum

Voice of the Child

In 2018 the Children’s Commissioner for England, conducted research into the impact of domestic abuse, parental substance misuse and mental health issues on children. Children spoke openly about the problems at home and the impact it had on their day-to-day life, including education and relationships. They spoke about how domestic abuse was normalised in their lives with many believing that the problems at home were their fault. A greater responsibility is often put onto older siblings that often take on a carer’s role, caring for younger siblings. The children expressed that they felt “anxious, scared, depressed and ashamed”. It is essential that we continue to hear the voice of the child and to use this to help us inform and develop effective strategies to support child victims of domestic abuse and living in abusive households.

Domestic Abuse Champion

Domestic abuse has been an issue that I have campaigned against throughout my working life. Sadly, it is an issue that has not diminished. It devastates individuals and families. As a former Chair of a women’s charity in South Tyneside, I know how difficult it can be for women to access services that support them through the dark times.

As the Domestic Abuse Champion for the Local Authority, I am so proud of the work that has been done to produce our South Tyneside Domestic Abuse Strategy. We have worked with partners, survivors and our Youth Parliament to create a strategy that seeks to ensure all of us understand our responsibility across the borough to tackle domestic abuse, it’s causes and to educate about healthy relationships.

This is the bedrock on which we can improve the lives of those affected by domestic abuse and create healthier and safer communities.

Cllr. Ruth Berkeley
South Tyneside Elected Member Domestic Abuse Champion

Every Day

Monday he loves me.
Tuesday he hates me.
Wednesday he hits me.
Thursday he avoids me.
Friday he disappears.
Saturday he stumbles back.
Sunday he's sorry.
Every day he drinks.

Evie Alam (14) South Tyneside
A winner of the Foyle Young Poet of the Year 2021

South Tyneside strategic aims and objectives

Introduction

This 3-year strategy will outline how we want to develop safe accommodation and improve the range of support available across South Tyneside to address the needs identified as a result of domestic abuse directly and indirectly in accordance with the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

The strategy has been developed by the South Tyneside Domestic Abuse Strategic Partnership and key stakeholders, including the Voice of the victim and child to describe our shared goals within the strategy on how we will prevent and respond to domestic abuse.

Working together in partnership as communities, services and agencies to prevent domestic abuse and create a zero tolerance of domestic abuse in society.

This strategy is a call to action for everyone to work together for the next 3-5 years to deliver the vision.

Aims

The aims of this strategy are to reduce the prevalence of domestic abuse by:

  • Supporting and creating the conditions for happy and healthy relationships.
  • Raising awareness and changing attitudes and behaviour that can underpin domestic abuse.
  • Giving professionals and communities the knowledge, skills and capabilities to recognise and respond to domestic abuse quickly and safely.
  • Improve partnership working to ensure a coordinate community response to domestic abuse.
  • Protecting children from exposure to and the impact of domestic abuse.
  • Providing support to adult and child victims quickly, recognising the importance of safe accommodation and support to help rebuild lives following traumatic experiences.
  • Providing high quality services and support which includes trauma-informed, needs led and strength-based services and appropriate housing for children and families who are affected by domestic abuse, to prevent the cycle and support us towards our vision.
  • To reduce the prevalence of abuse in intimate relationships through organisational, community and individual support to survivors and perpetrators and their children.
  • Working with perpetrators to support those who are willing to change their behaviour and to disrupt abuse through criminal interventions and taking an early intervention approach to help identify abusive behaviours.
  • Ensuring safety, re-empowerment, recovery and positive engagement for all those impacted by domestic abuse in South Tyneside.

The strategy will also encompass the vision below as outlined in the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion toolkit (Appendix A) produced by Northumbria Police Force and to be adopted by the DA Partnership.

We will embrace diversity to create an inclusive culture where everyone is valued and has opportunity to reach their potential.

Domestic Abuse Act 2021

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 places a duty on all Tier 1 Local Authorities to assess the local need for support and safe accommodation. As part of the Statutory Framework there is clear governance and accountability to appoint a multi-agency strategic partnership board.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/domestic-abuse-act-statutory-guidance

The multi-agency board are accountable for the assessment of need for those within South Tyneside requiring support as a victim, including children, within accommodation seeking support, and those requiring safe accommodation from out of the area. The Board are also required to develop and publish a strategy with clear actions to address the unmet need, and commissioning strategy to implement the change in provision required. The strategy and commissioned provision must be monitored regularly, and report annually back to central government.

The importance of accommodation to support adult and child victims is an essential element of the duty within the Act. The Strategy must address any gaps in accommodation beyond that of a refuge, to offer a range of accommodation options to support dispersed properties, those meeting the needs of at risk groups such as BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic), LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning), as well as sanctuary provision and moving on accommodation (see appendix C).

The current accommodation in South Tyneside accessible to those affected by domestic abuse includes the following:

  • Specialist accommodation to support complex cases on an outreach basis (Changing Lives).
  • Refuge and additional self-contained units (Places4People)
  • Sanctuary Scheme (South Tyneside Homes)
  • Tenancy Sustainment Officers as part of moving on or secondary support accommodation.

South Tyneside has limited availability of suitable accommodation to fully support those at risk of domestic abuse, particularly marginalised groups. This needs to be reviewed and actioned to fulfil the requirements of the Act. Our key deliverables are outlined throughout the document.

The current housing market needs to be increased in order to provide adult and child victims and perpetrators with appropriate support and intervention.

In addition to a range of accommodation options, the offer of support to adult and child victims and those residing in accommodation within South Tyneside should be available across all accommodation types. This could be delivered directly by the provision such as the refuge, or other specialist settings, or could be via an outreach approach.

The support should be evidence informed, delivered by specialist and experienced providers, who work in a trauma-informed and needs led way and including statutory and voluntary organisations.

The model for South Tyneside will be aligned to the current (2019) Integrated Housing Strategy South Tyneside Integrated Housing Strategy.

We are looking to provide at a range of housing options to meet the wide variety of housing needs and household circumstances, this will vary from refuge secure accommodation with onsite support, to homes within the community with floating support where necessary. We will support victims and their families to remain in their homes where they wish to and will offer hardening measures to properties to help victims feel safe. We will work to better understand the gaps in accommodation and support for this cohort and ensure that we are able to support all, even those with complex or challenging needs and behaviours and also those who may need reasonable adjustments and adaptations.

We will support in the community wherever possible and despite difficulties in doing so, will try and support preparators into secure accommodation; this will increase the chances of engagement with rehabilitation and support with other services, such as drug and alcohol, mental health. This will also allow more effective monitoring and ability to react wherever risks occur.

We will continue to review good practice and learn from lessons in the sector and through case law to ensure that the most appropriate and effective support and accommodation is commissioned. We will need to work with our housing provider partners to ensure that we have a range of accommodation available in borough.

Domestic abuse remains one of the top reasons why someone will present as homeless.

The data below shows homeless applications in South Tyneside over the last 4 years and domestic abuse has consistently shown as a primary or secondary reason for presenting as homeless.

South Tyneside Domestic Abuse Strategy 2022-2025 (2)

A review of all domestic abuse housing services is part of the strategy’s action plan in preventing homelessness. This will ensure that all services meet the accreditation level and to also tackle domestic abuse more effectively and reduce the number of households that are becoming homeless due to domestic abuse. The action plan also includes the delivery of training for front line staff, to ensure that barriers are broken down when talking about domestic abuse, providing a consistent service to all that approach to report domestic abuse, regardless of the service they approach.

The types of support that could be made available include:

  • Overall management of accommodation services
  • Day to day running of provision
  • Advocacy
  • Domestic abuse prevention advice
  • Specialist support for the victims
  • Designed to address the needs of those with specialist characteristics and complex needs
  • Children’s support and therapy
  • Housing related support
  • Counselling and therapeutic interventions

Local Authorities should also ensure they meet existing statutory requirements including (but not limited to) those set out in:

  • Care Act 2014
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Children’s Act 2004
  • Housing Act 1996
  • Homelessness Act 2002

They should also consider their duties alongside the following guidance:

  • Improving access to social housing for victims of domestic abuse in refuges or other types of temporary accommodations: statutory guidance on social housing allocations for local authorities in England.
  • Homelessness Code of Guidance
  • Keeping Children Safe in Education: Statutory guidance for schools and colleges
  • Working together to safeguard children: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
  • Violence against women and girls: national statement of expectations

The Council are currently working on an Adult Social Care Accommodation Strategy of which domestic abuse will be a key component. This will complement the work of this strategy and align with the housing strategy and the requirements of Part 4 of the Act. In addition to this, the council are currently working with South Tyneside Homes in terms of self-assessment against the DAHA (Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance) accreditation, the UK benchmark for how housing providers should respond to domestic abuse in the UK. It includes 8 priority areas that considers an organisation’s operations and delivers safe and effective interventions in domestic abuse. DAHA Accreditation

Definition of Domestic Abuse

It should be noted that the statutory definition now specifically recognises children as victims in their own right and who therefore also require help and support.

Domestic Abuse includes:

  • Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • Violent or threatening behaviour
  • Controlling and coercive behaviour
  • Economic abuse

Domestic abuse can happen across different types of relationships not limited to those in an intimate relationship. It can occur across households including against or by carers, family members and those 16 years or over. However, it should be noted that child to parent violence and abuse (CPVA) can involve those under 16 years. CPVA can also be referred to as adolescent violence, adolescent violence in the home, parent abuse, child to parent abuse. Although there is currently no legal definition it is increasingly recognised as a form of domestic violence and abuse.

Honour based violence and forced marriage is also defined as domestic abuse, including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which often goes under reported. We also recognise that immigration abuse is increasingly being recognised as a form of coercive control. The National Domestic Abuse Commissioner in her ‘Safety Before Status’ report is calling for greater awareness of this. Safety Before Status.

Domestic Abuse Notice and Domestic Abuse Order

The new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice (DAPN) and Domestic Abuse Protection Order (DAPO) will be available to address and prevent Domestic Abuse (DA) [which is given a statutory definition and wide one at that - it covers cover physical, psychological, emotional, financial abuse and coercive control].

The DAPO will replace the DVPO (Domestic Violence Protection Order), the Restraining Order and the non-molestation order. There will be one order across the civil and criminal jurisdiction. The order may be made in civil and family proceedings, on the conviction or acquittal of the offender and by a magistrates’ court on the civil freestanding application of the Chief Officer of a police force either on complaint or following the issue of a DAPN by an officer of at least the rank of Inspector (in which case an application for a DAPO must be made – like the current DVPN process albeit an Inspector will now be able to authorise the DAPN). The DAPO may be imposed for a period specified in the order or until further order [the DVPO regime currently provides for a maximum period of 28 days]. Further, the standard of proof applied by the court (in the civil and criminal jurisdiction) when deciding whether the offender has been abusive (the matters alleged in the application) is the balance of probabilities.

The DAPO will provide an opportunity to tackle domestic abuse perpetrators in that such order may also include positive requirements (see section 36 of the 2021 Act – Further provision about requirements that may be imposed by orders) that may be imposed to seek to address and prevent alcohol and substance misuse where that misuse is a factor in the DA offending. As the explanatory note to the 2021 Act explains: “Where a DAPO imposes requirements on the perpetrator, it must specify the person (an individual or organisation) who is responsible for supervising compliance (subsection (2)). Such individuals or organisations could, for example, include the local authority or a recognised provider of substance misuse recovery services”.

Breach of the DAPO is a triable either way offence.

The DAPO therefore goes much further and will allow the court to make an order that not only protects the IP (and future IPs) but also to address the root cause(s) of the offending behaviour. There is also provision to include the electronic monitoring of offenders as a term of the DAPO.

The 2021 Act addresses the limitations of the Restraining Order (which order may only contain prohibitions that protect a specified and identified IP) and allow for a more holistic approach to safeguarding and offender management.

The Home Office indicates that most of the provisions in the 2021 Act will be implemented in 21/22 and the DAPN/DAPO will be piloted in England and Wales before being implemented.

Please see Appendix B for the implementation timescales.

What we know

Children and Families

Learning from national case reviews indicates that practitioners can underestimate the impact and frequency of domestic abuse. The consequence of this is that practitioners can underestimate the risk. Adoption of the Safe and Together Model, national and international good practice will be key in helping to address this. The Safe and Together Model is key at helping address this. It supports staff in improving their skills to be able to partner with the non-abusing parent and identify and record their strengths and protective factors and helps avoid disguised compliance. Safe and Together Model (PDF)

Any gender can perpetrate domestic abuse and it can happen in all intimate relationships and in any family. But most cases involve males who perpetrate abuse. However, due to societal norms and bias abuse of men by women is not always reported or seen as a crime.

In a local case review it was identified that we needed to consider “invisible men”. Men can be invisible through a range of different causes:

  • Absence or avoidance
  • Focus on women to protect children
  • Misogyny
  • Gender bias

Practitioners can underestimate the risk to children during relationship breakdown and disputes about post-separation contact. Domestic abuse can continue after parents have separated and sometimes the stress of separation can be a trigger for a violent event.

Domestic abuse relationships may also be characterised by separations and reconciliations. Practitioners sometimes rely on out-of-date information about a parent’s relationship status and are not always aware of separated couples getting back together.

Domestic abuse can cause adults to live in fear for their own safety and the safety of the family’s children. They may also be afraid of the consequences of seeking help. This can make it difficult for them to speak out and result in victims minimising abusive incidents and/or retracting disclosures they have made to a professional. At times survivors of abuse may feel re-victimised by the interventions by practitioners.

Families who have experienced domestic abuse do not always engage with services. This is seen in our local experience where families initially engage with a single assessment but then refuse to engage with an early help or child in need plans, only to be referred again later. Other parents may appear to comply with support services to allay concerns and reduce engagement with organisations such as children’s social care. This can pose a risk to children’s safety as professionals may be unaware of the full risk to the child.

Anyone with a history of violent offending, against adults or children, may present a high risk to partners or children. This information is gathered at the point of referral to Children and Families Social Care.

Drug and alcohol misuse can also fuel violent behaviour but can only ever be described as a dis-inhibitor. Both perpetrators and survivors can experience mental health or alcohol problems. However, the effect of harmful drinking is often defined in terms of anti-social behaviour, young people’s alcohol use and the cost to the health service. In South Tyneside we acknowledge the serious hidden consequences of parental harmful drinking and alcohol-related domestic abuse on children.

National studies identified that alcohol has played a part in 25-33% of known cases of child abuse with further studies of young offenders identifying cases where the young person was also misusing alcohol, 78% had a history of parental alcohol abuse or domestic abuse within the family. Health Matters - Harmful Drinking

To understand children’s needs it is critical to hear the child’s story and understand its context from the adults in their life. All adults involved in a child’s life should be involved in the Early Help, Child in Need or Child Protection planning.

Episodes of domestic abuse should always be viewed as increasing the risk to children’s safety. Separation between parents should not be assumed to reduce risk. Research has shown that risk of further significant abuse can increase following separation and that thematic reviews of the findings of domestic homicide reviews confirms a link with the mental health of the perpetrator. There is also increasing evidence of the links between suicide ideation and DHR (Domestic Homicide Reviews).

In South Tyneside 44% of all single assessments are described as having an element of domestic abuse. After reviewing the impact of domestic abuse Children and Families Social Care have:

  • Created a domestic abuse service to work with children, survivors, and perpetrators of abuse.
  • Created a young person’s IDVA
  • Funded a young person’s support service

The domestic abuse service’s aim is to understand the impact of domestic abuse in families and work in partnership to ameliorate the effects whilst ensuring that family members are safe. The service will work alongside the Children and Families Social Care’s social workers to ensure that family members are effectively supported. The service will work directly with; people who abuse their families and provide assisted referrals to specialist services, children who have directly or indirectly experienced domestic abuse and people who have experienced abuse in their intimate relationships.

As young people develop new personal relationships, they may experience domestic abuse directed at them. To combat this issue Children and Families Social Care have funded a young person’s IDVA post. This service provides support and advice around safety, emotional well-being, and practical issues.

As well as training the family workers’ service in responding to domestic abuse Children and Families Social Care and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) have funded Impact Family Services to offer the Safe Hands Programme which delivers support to children to safely express their experiences of domestic abuse.

The South Tyneside Safeguarding Children and Adults Partnership (STSCAP) replaces both the South Tyneside Safeguarding Children Partnership (STSCP) and Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB).

The newly formed Safeguarding Partnership arrangement have an increased focus on practice across safeguarding issues for children and adults and have adopted three multi-agency practice themes across the year. The partnership identified the Impact of Alcohol on Domestic Abuse as one of the practice priorities for 2020/21.

This first Practice Priority was a collaborative ‘Think Family’ priority across children and adults.

A total of three multi-agency sessions were held. These were delivered by ‘experts’ in the field of domestic abuse/alcohol services and were broken down as follows:

  • Session 1: An Overview of the Impact of Alcohol on Domestic Abuse
  • Session 2: Signs, Indicators and Assessment of Problematic Alcohol Use and the Impact on Domestic Abuse
  • Session 3: Effective and Practical Interventions / Who and Where to Refer to in South Tyneside

In all the sessions three key questions were asked of practitioners:

  • What is the current practice, including good practice?
  • What are the skills and service gaps?
  • What additional support/resources would strengthen practice

The following key points were drawn from the sessions for partnership consideration:

Service gaps

  • Perpetrator work to include those perpetrators with alcohol and substance misuse issues that impact on the engagement with support services
  • Local support services for older people with alcohol issues and / or suffering domestic abuse
  • Local support for child to parent abuse victims
  • Lack of emergency accommodation especially for those with drug and alcohol issues and fleeing abusive situations
  • Post Covid – consider different approaches to engage children and young people within the school setting rather than them having to access services

Resources

  • Development of an alcohol / DA resource that could be used with families, including a range of assessment tools
  • Information / apps for children / young people to access that would explain the alcohol and domestic abuse / how they can keep safe and where to seek help

Training

  • Guidance and training on completing risk / assessment tools e.g., DASH RIC (Domestic Abuse, Stalking, Harassment and Honour based violence Risk Indicator Checklist)
  • How to address and talk about alcohol and domestic abuse with families
  • Healthy relationships
  • To include domestic abuse and substance misuse service information and referral pathways in staff induction.

Part of the recommendations to the STSCAP Board, was to share the findings from this work with the domestic abuse partnership Board.

Child to Parent/Carer violence

Although, there is no legal definition of child or adolescent to parent violence and abuse, it’s increasingly recognised as a form of domestic violence and abuse and depending on the age of the child, it may fall under the government’s official definition of domestic violence and abuse. Child or adolescent to parent violence and abuse in any family is a very serious issue. Mothers are most likely to be the targets of this violence; however, all family members can be at risk. In South Tyneside we recognise Child and adolescent violence has many similarities to domestic violence, but while domestic violence between adults is generally well recognised, child to parent violence and abuse in families often remains hidden and unacknowledged because of the shame associated with it and the fear of what could happen if it is reported by parents.

There are many reasons why parents/ carers won’t, or feel they can’t, make a disclosure so it’s important to build trust to enable a potential, future disclosure.

CAPVA affects everyone in the family in which it is taking place including siblings and other children connected to the young person causing harm through their violent/abusive behaviour. Children living with violence/abuse are considered at risk of harm. Children who are causing harm to others through their use of violence/abuse are deemed to also be at risk.

CAPVA (Child/Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse) is a form of abuse covered by multiagency safeguarding adult’s policy and procedures. Where the parent/carer experiencing abuse is an adult at risk as defined by the Care Act 2014:

  • aged 18 or over; and
  • has needs for care and support (whether those needs are being met); and
  • as a result of those needs is unable to protect him or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.

A safeguarding adult’s referral must be made. Our local procedure is online at Safeguarding Referral.

In Children and Families Social Care we have staff trained in the CPVA Respect programme and have funded a CPVA coordinator via funding from the OPCC. The Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) have also funded the Respect ‘ask and act’ training which included frontline staff in the VCS, council, health, education in South Tyneside.

Adult to Adult Abuse

Domestic violence and abuse; is the abuse of someone within a family or intimate relationship (including ex-partners). It is the repeated, random and habitual use of intimidation to control a person.

Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, physical, coercive, emotional, psychological, harassment and stalking, online/digital, financial, economic or sexual. Anyone forced to alter their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner’s/ family member’s reaction is being abused.

Family members can be taken to mean parents, adult children, siblings, grandparents, aunts/uncles and step family.

The terms ‘domestic violence’ and ‘domestic abuse’ are often used interchangeably, so here we have ‘joined them together as it is felt to be a more inclusive way to describe a range of behaviours, which include violence as well as all other forms of abuse.

Domestic Abuse and Older Adults

The full extent of domestic abuse in older adults is currently unclear. Until recently most surveys and studies, such as the Crime Survey for England and Wales, have excluded consideration for victims of domestic abuse aged 60 and over, making interpretation, understanding and policy making difficult.

A recent report by Age UK highlighted the scale and impact of domestic abuse faced by older people, as well as the challenges and barriers that prevent victims from accessing the help and support, they need. The report identified that in 2019 over 280,000 people aged 60 to 74 (3.1%) experienced domestic abuse in England and Wales and one in five (22%) victims of domestic homicides were over the age of 60.

The report called for better reporting of domestic abuse against older people and training for health care practitioners, including GPs and practice nurses, who work with older people, particularly during hospital admission and discharge.

Although we know many of the problems facing older victims are common to all of those experiencing domestic abuse. We also know, older victims’ experiences are often exacerbated by social, cultural and physical factors that require a tailored response. Recent research has shown:

  • People over 60 are less likely to have attempted to leave their situation than those under 60;
  • Older victims of domestic abuse are likely to have lived with the abuse for prolonged periods before getting help; Leading to acceptance/normalisation;
  • Older adults are statistically more likely to suffer from health problems, reduced mobility or other disabilities, which can exacerbate fear and their vulnerability to harm;
  • Older adults tend to be financially reliant or depending on the abuser to provide physical or practical support and care;

There are many reasons why older adults won’t, or feel they can’t, make a disclosure so it’s important to build trust to enable a potential, future disclosure.

Where the person experiencing abuse is an adult at risk as defined by the Care Act 2014:

  • aged 18 or over; and
  • has needs for care and support (whether those needs are being met); and
  • as a result of those needs is unable to protect him or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.

A safeguarding adult’s referral must be made. Our local procedure is online at Safeguarding Referral.

Priority groups

Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME)

From the total number of domestic abuse victims in South Tyneside, it is estimated that 3% are from the BAME community, this is similar to both the North East and national data. It is however likely that this figure could be underestimated as there is a lack of reporting within certain ethnic groups. In addition to this, studies have suggested that BAME women are more likely to stay in an abusive relationship due to the barriers associated with leaving. Many BAME victims choose to engage with informal support services or self-reporting to domestic abuse services.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/ Questioning (LGBTQ+)

Similarly, there is often a reluctance for reporting from LGBTQ+ people. Information on sexual orientation is not routinely collected by the police when recording incidents of domestic abuse. Those involved in same-gender abuse are often afraid of revealing their sexual orientation or the nature of their relationship. In 2020, a report by Galop cited that although the current demand for LGBTQ+ specialist interventions is increasing, findings in the report also highlight that there are currently only six LGBTQ+ specialist domestic abuse projects based in England and none in Wales. Despite a lack of funding, these projects often work beyond their capacity and geographical area to provide much needed support to LGBTQ+ victims and survivors. Recognise and Respond

There is a need to prioritise victims from the above groups to be included within the future commissioning intentions. The relationship with victims and statutory providers needs to be strengthened to ensure that victims are fully supported and safeguarded to report incidents.

Alcohol and Domestic Abuse

What we know is that research has shown that there is a strong relationship between alcohol and domestic abuse. Whilst alcohol should not be used as an excuse for those who perpetrate violence and abuse, neither should its influence be ignored. Where alcohol is involved in domestic abuse, much of the evidence suggested that it was not the root cause, but rather a compounding factor in the abuse sometimes to a significant extent. Women who are abused are 15 times more likely to misuse alcohol themselves. 10% of those accessing DV support services had an alcohol use need – almost 10 times the rate of the general population.

We will review the ADVANCE pilot by Kings College London, which is showing promising results around a joint substance misuse and domestic abuse intervention for perpetrators. ADVANCE

Alcohol increases the risk of serious violence and rape with 25-50% of perpetrators having been drinking at the time of the assault. Of the male perpetrators of domestic violence crimes in South Tyneside 59% had alcohol issues with alcohol related harms costing in the region of £386 per person.

South Tyneside is consistently higher than the England average across a range of alcohol related indicators. Current available data shows the following:

Alcohol Related Mortality Per 100,000 population (old version) 2018
Cohort England North East South Tyneside
Male 67.2 82.6 101.9
Female 28.7 35.1 40.7
Admission Episodes for Alcohol Specific Conditions per 100,000 2019/20
Cohort England North East South Tyneside
Male 894 130.7 1795
Female 409 590 711
Persons 644 936 1229
Admission Episodes for Alcohol Specific Conditions U18 per 100,000 2017/18-19/20
Cohort England North East South Tyneside
Male 24.9 47.1 97.9
Female 36.7 64.1 125.8
Persons 30.7 55.4 111.5

See Public Health Outcomes Framework

South Tyneside has an estimated 2,399 alcohol dependent drinkers. This equates to 19.26 dependent drinkers per 1,000 population.

In terms of domestic abuse, national research typically finds that between 25% and 50% of perpetrators have been drinking at the time of assault, although in some studies the figure is as high as 73%. In the last year, alcohol was identified as a factor on average in 56% of all domestic abuse incidents.

Research with Police Officers in the North East of England found that the majority of officers witnessed alcohol as a feature when attending a domestic abuse incident and stating it as having a ‘large impact’ on domestic violence.

Domestic Homicide Reviews

Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHR) were established on a statutory basis under Section 9 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Adults Act 2004. They came into effect in April 2011.

The process for a DHR is a multi-agency review of circumstances in which the death of a person aged 16 or above, has or appears to have resulted from violence, abuse or neglect by a person whom he or she had been in an intimate personal relationship with or a member of the same household.

Across the Northumbria patch, in the last decade between 2011 and October 2021 there have been a total of 40 DHR of which South Tyneside had 4.

The purpose of the review is to:

  • work together to safeguard victims
  • identify any lessons learned
  • identify how those lessons will be acted upon and what expected change would be seen a result
  • applying those lessons to service responses to change policies and procedures
  • prevent further domestic homicides and improve service response

The responsibility for DHR in South Tyneside sits with the Community Safety Partnership Board.

What our young people and victims are telling us

We also know from research in Northumbria that 62% of survivors first confide in someone they know and trust such as a friend, family member or work colleague. However, currently survivors’ say they want a better community response as when they do speak out to a trusted person, they can feel judged, isolated or silenced by the people around them. In worst case scenarios it can feel like other people side with the abuser. If we improve community responses to DA then this provides an early intervention opportunity if those first sources of support are trained to understand DA (and the barriers survivors face) so that they know how to offer the right response to survivors the first time they speak out (listen, believe, validate, signpost) – as part of an improved community response to DA.

The South Tyneside’s Young People’s Parliament (STYPP) as part of their Make your Mark national Ballot in 2020 voted for Domestic Abuse to be the focus of their campaign.

To launch their campaign STYPP designed a survey for secondary school students and teaching staff in both primary and secondary schools. The purpose of the survey was to find out what students and teaching staff already know about ‘Domestic Abuse’ and if there are any gaps in their knowledge and the support available.

A total of 567 pupils and 187 staff responded to the survey. The parliament have analysed the results into a report along with a number of actions they would take to address the findings.

A summary of the key findings from the survey is below;

  • 66% of pupils and 68% of Staff knew a little about domestic abuse
  • 25% of pupils felt they had received enough education on domestic abuse
  • 29% of staff had received training for domestic abuse in the last 3 years
  • 47% of pupils and 36% of staff would not know what to do if they knew someone was experiencing domestic abuse
  • 41% of pupils and 51% of staff were aware of domestic abuse services and support available
  • 24% of pupils and 21% of staff said something would stop them from reporting domestic abuse, with fear for the person involved being the main reason

It’s clear from the summary of the results that knowledge and awareness of domestic abuse and how to respond can be improved. The Youth Parliament have developed a range of actions to address awareness, knowledge gaps, information about services, local data and reporting procedures.

Service user engagement has been held with 37 service users from Places for people and impact Family Services to gather their views on accessing the services. Key themes included:

  • Engagement with Services - Non judgemental
  • Access to Housing
  • Domestic Abuse Awareness / Knowledge / Safety Planning
  • Ability to Escape / Have a Place of Safety
  • Independence
  • Substance Misuse / Mental Health Support
  • Friendship / Peers

Quotes from Service Users on the Benefits

  • Getting more information about domestic abuse and realising it wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t judged by my worker.
  • … I wasn’t judged by anyone.
  • I hope that South Tyneside Homes will support me with priority housing.
  • Domestic Abuse Awareness / Knowledge / Safety Planning
  • I feel well informed, I have my voice back and I can take control, I now have my freedom back and I feel confident.
  • I learned so many things about life, planning for the future, healthy relationships and managing my finances and tenancy.
  • I have nightmares and flashbacks. I’m still scared and don’t think I will ever have another relationship, but the team still help me and will help me get a home of my own which will help everything else.
  • It gave us the space to get away from an abusive relationship, I was given breathing space and supported to start a new life.
  • They helped me live free from fear and abuse.
  • Without them, I would still be in the hostel, getting bullied and wanting to die.
  • … helped me with it all, my appointments, housing, drugs, the abuse, helping me mentally - which meant the most.
  • I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for your services.
  • The best part was being able to speak to other victims during Freedom and tell my story. I found this better than speaking to my counsellor one to one.
  • I have made six good friends; we still meet up and the bond is strong.

Quotes from Service users about the Challenges

  • It's took a long time for my housing application and was told different information by different people. I also had to hand in documents more than once and call up more than once for permissions to be added to my application. This has held me back from moving on quicker.
  • I have had to wait so long for mental health services which has been hard.
  • COVID had an impact due to no visitors in the refuge, so I felt lonely and isolated from my family.
  • I would have liked to meet my worker each week instead of it being over the telephone.
  • I was offered a viewing during Ramadan which was a struggle for me due to fasting and living with 2 children ….
  • My partner doesn’t understand Domestic abuse and is now a victim himself due to my ex-partners ongoing abuse.
  • I still think cos I am a man I wasn’t taken seriously.
  • I can’t go into a refuge as refused to leave my pets with my ex.
  • I feel services don’t get enough funding to be able to help victims with things like getting properties safe and secure.

Quotes from Service users on improvements that could be made

  • More funding is needed in different areas like education, security, furnishing houses and removal costs.
  • Services for male people including new partners of victims of Domestic Abuse are needed.
  • …. therapy, maybe some group therapy so women could meet other people going through the same thing.
  • I feel like a second-class citizen being a male victim, I had to jump through hoops with many services. Gender equality definitely needs looking at.
  • More awareness courses and more interaction with others in the same situation.
  • Pets should be able to stay with you in a refuge.
  • More groups, housing, support for mental health and substance.
  • More services that can help different types of people. One size doesn’t fit all.
  • More housing options. I stayed longer than I should have cos of this.
  • Better access to counselling.
  • More done to stop abusers getting away with it.

Key themes and priorities

The government’s new VAWG (Violence Against Women and Girls) strategy has 4 pillars:

  1. prioritising prevention,
  2. supporting victims,
  3. pursuing perpetrators;
  4. delivering a stronger system.

It is likely that the national Domestic Abuse Strategy could follow the same 4 pillars once this is published in the autumn 2021.

The South Tyneside Domestic Abuse strategy is based around the above pillars together with local need and context.

Culture Shift/Changing Attitudes

To ensure the whole system delivers long term change, challenging societal attitudes through strong leadership, education and awareness of the impact of domestic abuse is fundamental to the strategy to be successful in meeting the vision and outcomes. DA is everyone’s business and communities also have a key role to play around challenging abusive behaviours.

Prevention

It is imperative that prevention is a key element of the strategy delivering a public health approach to domestic abuse. If we don’t change attitudes, behaviours and understand the causes that increase the risk of abuse, we will never reduce the need and demand for services and safety. We also need to understand the root causes of VAWG which are gender inequality, misogyny and sexism.

A prevention framework has been developed to look at education and early intervention. Increasing knowledge and skills in the population, and the workforce to drive the cultural shift, increase reporting and create an environment for zero tolerance.

Campaigns are an important element of increasing awareness and knowledge to driving forward a change in attitudes, joint campaigns around alcohol and domestic abuse, positive relationships, conflict between parents, young people etc, hidden harm older people, adult child to parent/carer abuse are all key areas of focus, but not an exhaustive list.

This will also link to the government forthcoming multi-million-pound national public communications campaign with will have a focus on targeting perpetrators and harmful misogynistic attitudes, educating young people about healthy relationships, and ensuring that victims can access support.

The domestic abuse campaign carried out by the Youth Parliament will add to the learning to address some of the key actions outlined as result of the survey to target young people and schools.

To increase awareness, the Council will adopt the White Ribbon campaign and apply for accreditation within 2022.

Provision of Services and Support

Delivery of effective, needs-led, strength based, outcome focussed services that are trauma informed for those groups at risk, providing safe accommodation and wrap around support to rebuild lives will be some of key principles of the redesign and recommissioning of services. The review will address the whole system approach to domestic abuse not just limited to the duty.

Ensuring services are equitable, providing a range of support to meet a range of needs particularly for those with specialist characteristics, who may be underrepresented currently for example: Black and minoritised survivors, male victims, deaf and disabled victims, older victims, LGBTQ+ victims etc. who are often the most hidden which means that their needs are often not understood.

The guidance outlines that, as well as accommodation provision, quality standards should also be applied for community-based support services and work with perpetrators.

Quality standards have been developed by the following national organisations:

  • Imkaan Quality Standards: Work with BME women and girl survivors of violence
  • Rape Crisis National Service Standards: Work with women and girl survivors of rape and sexual violence
  • Respect: Work with male survivors of violence and work with perpetrators
  • SafeLives Leading Lights: Work to end domestic abuse and make families safe
  • Women’s Aid Quality Standards: Work to end domestic abuse against women and children
  • Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) Standards
  • VAWG sector shared core quality standards
  • DLUCH (Department for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing) quality standards on safe accommodation

It is also important to ensure we are complaint with the Equality Act recognising services for male victims, and those transgender to ensure safety for all victims.

In addition to redesigning services to address unmet need, recognising and reducing barriers to accessing support for those already in service is also important particularly noting the feedback from our service users stating some of the challenges in our current provision.

Engaging Perpetrators

Engaging with perpetrators is another vital element of the strategy, to support those willing to change their behaviour, and address any trauma to improve their chances of a positive outcome, as well as utilising the legal framework to tackle those not willing to change but causing harm.

The review of evidence and successful interventions will be carried out to ensure services commissioned will be underpinned by latest evidence, research and evaluation. Provision needs to meet the needs across the whole spectrum, gain support, intelligence and evidence of impact from wider agencies and partners.

Partnership Working

To achieve long term and sustainable change collective vision, understanding and commitment from all partners to address domestic abuse. Accountability for the strategy resides with the strategic partnership board, supported by the joint action plan championed by each organisation signed off at executive level. There is also a need to include work to strengthen multi-agency systems, whole systems approach and ensure that the Board work to the 12 themes in the Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to domestic abuse. Standing Together

Needs assessment summary and recommendations

Summary of the findings from the DA JSNAA (Joint Strategic Needs and Assets Assessment) outlines:

  • The total number of domestic abuse incidents for 2020/21 in South Tyneside was 2412
  • In domestic abuse incidents reported in South Tyneside 75% involve females and 25% males as the victim
  • 3% of all reported incidents involve a victim from the BAME community, which is likely to be underreported, therefore further work is required to quantify the need within this cohort
  • 2% of all reported incidents involved 16-17-year-old victims
  • 12% of all incidents reported involved victims over the age of 55 years
  • 77% of incidents reported involved a partner or ex-partner
  • 45% of incidents reported involved children who were present or witnessed the abuse
  • The highest proportion of incidents reported were in people living in the top 20% most deprived wards
  • South Tyneside has 19 prolific offenders the Harm Reduction Unit (South Tyneside Adult Recovery Service) are involved with who are involved in a high number of incidents. The 19 prolific offenders are change resistant drinkers
  • Alcohol is recorded in 56% of all reported incidents, increasing to 75% in repeat domestic abuse incidents

Number recommendation

1
Develop a clear data set for all partners to collate consistent information
2
Embed the voice of the victim and children into ever aspect of the strategy
3
Identify additional accommodation opportunities to improve housing option for victims and heir children
4
To clearly define the offer of support to work with victims, children and perpetrators to prevent further abuse and aid behaviour change and recovery
5
To take a preventative approach to Domestic Abuse, to raise awareness and change attitudes, educating children, young people and adults on healthy relationships and to not tolerate abuse
6
To take a whole system approach to delivering the above recommendations

Assets

  • Domestic Abuse Forum providing a multi-agency response
  • Domestic Abuse Champions within workplaces and across key settings
  • Member Champion
  • Strong Leadership to drive through the change needed
  • Commitment from partners to tackle this issue long term, with clear vision and outcomes

Gaps

  • Data collection for certain groups e.g. LGBTQ+, BAME and Over 74 yr olds adolescent to parent violence
  • A range of accommodation to offer victims and their children a safe place to rebuild and receive wrap around support to assist in recovery from traumatic events
  • Voice of the Child
  • Focus on behaviour change
  • Focus on prevention
  • System approach to tackling domestic abuse root causes

Our commissioning approach to delivering the Strategy

See JSNAA: Domestic Abuse

The vision for the commissioning strategy is to deliver an ambitious programme of change to eliminate domestic abuse, reduce the harm and improve outcomes for victims, children and families within South Tyneside. To commission effective and efficient early intervention support and preventative services, using a whole system integrated approach with a lead provider model to deliver high victim and child support, ensuring high accountability for those causing harm.

The commissioning strategy will set out the joint vision, priorities and commitments across South Tyneside to address domestic abuse. The strategy will focus on prevention, early intervention, support and response. The strategy will be informed by the refreshed joint strategic needs and assets assessment, drawing clear actions and priorities to deliver improvements to services and services user outcomes, as well as highlighting what is working well.

The JSNAA provides a system overview to domestic abuse capturing the quantitive and qualitative data to provide continuous improvement to service delivery.

Resources and assets

As part of a Section 31 grant and the Domestic Abuse Act the Council received £350,000 from DHLUC.

Local Authority provided and commissioned services have a budget of £728,271 for direct interventions for Domestic Abuse.

In addition to the above, our wider partners also have resources and assets specifically responding to domestic abuse – both victims and perpetrators. These include: Domestic Abuse Health Advocate (ED and Maternity), housing stock as well as additional funding to support accommodation needs and the Criminal Justice System including the OPCC and VRU (Violence Reduction Unit).

Our 3rd sector partners provide a range of support and interventions, very often offering the first point of contact for victims and their families.

Lived experience

The commissioning strategy will be jointly developed with those with lived experience, to ensure the voice of the victim and the child is central to everything we do, providing a system that is inclusive and responsive to need. Various methods will be used to achieve this such as service user engagement in co-production of service specifications and outcomes, use of experts by experience to support the whole commissioning process, advocating for all victims, children and families. As the commissioning approach is all age and needs led, all key groups will be given the opportunity to be involved, either through expert by experience or focus groups, surveys, case studies and telling the journey of a victim, family, or child’s experience.

In addition to the views of victims, children and families, key stakeholders and wider organisation will also be a key part of the co-production approach.

Links to other strategies

Key Deliverables

Culture change and prevention

To drive change in attitudes and behaviour to reduce incidents of domestic abuse.

Outcomes

  • Reduce the number of incidents of domestic abuse in ST
  • Increase awareness and reporting of incidents
  • Achieve a positive shift in attitudes towards a zero tolerance for domestic abuse
  • Increase knowledge and skills across the workforce and population through training and education

What we already do/have

  • Proactive Domestic Abuse Forum – championing the cause
  • Prevention framework developed
  • Multi-agency board committed to prevention and early intervention
  • Previous campaigns – white ribbon promoted
  • Regional working – at scale
  • Operation encompass
  • Council DA Policy

What we are going to do

  • Whole system change – implementation of the prevention framework
  • Campaign to promote healthy relationships - changing attitudes towards abusive relationships
  • Establish robust Governance
  • Champion the voice of the victim and child
  • Ensure Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) and Trauma Informed practice is central to what we do
  • Review training and education opportunities available
  • Clear focus on children and young people – education, training and healthy relationships
  • Increase workplace support for those experiencing domestic abuse to support both employer and employee, identifying a champion
  • Regular and consistent community awareness raising programmes, including a visible and targeted social media presence

Provision of services and support

Delivery of person-centred outcome focussed, trauma informed provision.

Outcomes

  • Improved range of services, accommodation and support available to victims and children
  • A system that is responsive to all needs - gender informed, responsive to specialist characteristics
  • Improved quality of intervention
  • Improved outcomes for victims and children- to help them rebuild and recover

What we already do/have

  • Existing accommodation services – refuge, complex needs
  • Support for families
  • Domestic abuse forum – range of voluntary sector organisations support the community
  • Newly commissioned domestic abuse team within Children’s social care
  • Child/Parent Violence IDVA
  • Parental conflict
  • Hospital IDVA
  • Operation Encompass
  • Young Person’s IDVA
  • Young Person’s support service

What we are going to do

  • Commission services that are responsive to need, person centred, informed by Experts by Experience (EBE)
  • Address gaps in current provision to meet unmet need
  • Improving quality of provision, having clear outcomes and performance monitoring, including the voice of the service user
  • To commission evidence based, efficient, innovative practice where evidence is not available
  • Implement annual monitoring
  • Build in continuous improvement and evaluation

Engaging perpertrators

To support those willing to change, and to disrupt those who are not using the legal framework.

Outcomes

  • Engaging more perpetrators into effective behaviour change models of practice
  • Improving successful completion of interventions
  • Reduce the number of repeat victims/prolific offenders

What we already do/have

  • Existing Perpetrator programme
  • MAPPA and MARAC processes
  • Criminal and legal proceedings

What we are going to do

  • Taking a trauma informed approach to supporting perpetrators
  • Increasing the range of interventions, to address variance in need, motivation and severity of risk
  • Based on evidence
  • Behaviour change model to underpin the programme of interventions
  • Working with ex perpetrators who have successfully completed and sustained a change in behaviour to inform service practices
  • Strengthen links between behaviour and legal proceeding to disrupt behaviour
  • Removing barriers to change; helping perpetrators address other needs by robust and collaborative partnership working

Partnership working

Collective vision, understanding and commitment to tackle domestic abuse.

Outcomes

  • Improve awareness and commitment to address domestic abuse in South Tyneside
  • To develop a collective vision
  • To improve outcomes for Victims and families
  • To achieve robust governance and strong leadership to domestic abuse delivering real and sustainable change

What we already do/have

  • Domestic Abuse Strategic Partnership Board established
  • Domestic Abuse Forum long established - integrated into the governance structures
  • Domestic Abuse workplace champions
  • Member Champion
  • Integrated approach to delivery across the system
  • Alliancing does everyone know what this means?

What we are going to do

  • Establish a whole system domestic abuse strategy, action plan and commissioning strategy
  • Whole system accountability to drive and deliver change
  • Challenge negative attitudes
  • Champion for continual investment in domestic abuse
  • Champion inclusion and use of EBE
  • Implement a process for continuous improvement and test outcomes have been met
  • Challenge barriers and blockages
  • Commission for quality of interventions and service delivery
  • Pooling resources including financial and in kind
  • All agencies to commit to being involved in domestic homicides and learning from serious case reviews

Governance

South Tyneside Domestic Abuse Strategic Partnership is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the strategy, and monitoring progress and performance. The Governance structure below outlines the partnership approach to delivering the strategy, and recognising this is a system wide issue, that require a system response to make a real sustained change. Within the Governance structure the voice of the victim and child will be embedded across every level.

South Tyneside Domestic Abuse Strategy 2022-2025 (3)

Monitoring

As part of the Duty outlined within the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, the strategic board will be required to carry out monitoring of the strategy, commissioned services to understand if the unmet need has been met as a result of actions taken.

To provide the Board with sufficient information and progress against the strategy the following monitoring will take place;

  • Quarterly progress updates against the strategy action plan (working Group)
  • Victim journey (case studies)
  • Production of a data dashboard
  • Service User feedback
  • Completion of national monitoring template Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
  • Annual report and evaluation to be published (submitted to MHCLG June 2023)

The monitoring required via MHCLG will be focussed on the following areas and should be incorporated into the local annual report;

  • Progress on the establishment of the Board
  • If the needs assessment has be undertaken
  • If the local strategy is demonstrating effectiveness in addressing unmet needs
  • If commissioning activity is informed by the needs assessment and decisions made
  • Breakdown of the funding

I am Free

No more will you be knocking on my door
Ringing me with vile names
You will not get the chance
To tell me how you love me
Or how sorry you are
I am free

No more will I torture myself
Thinking I’m not good enough
You played with my mind
I was lost for a while
Stronger and confident
I am free

Creative Writing group
Women’s Health in South Tyneside (WHiST)

Appendix A - Northumbria Police DEI Toolkit

Northumbria police are fully committed to making sure that our region is a safe and inclusive place for everyone. They will work with partners to put in place systems that enable the collection, collation and analysis of data and information that identifies disparity in service delivery across the nine strands of diversity.

Protected Characteristics

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Gender reassignment
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity

Diversity, equality and inclusion

South Tyneside Domestic Abuse Strategy 2022-2025 (4)

Appendix B: Implementation - Domestic Abuse Act 2021

Stage 1: April – October 2021

Since Royal Assent in April, the following protections for victims have come into effect:

  • Rough sex defence (section 71 – 29 April): the ‘rough sex’ provisions clarify that it is not a defence to claim that a person consented to serious harm for the purpose of sexual gratification.
  • Revenge porn (section 69 – 29 June): the so called ‘revenge porn’ offence in section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 has been extended to cover the threat to disclose private sexual photographs and films with the intention to cause distress.
  • Extraterritorial jurisdiction (sections 72, 74(1) & (2), and Parts 1 & 2 of Schedule 3 – 29 June): the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the criminal courts in England, Wales, and Scotland has been extended so that, where appropriate, UK nationals and those habitually resident in England, Wales, or Scotland who commit certain violent and sexual offences outside the UK may be brought to trial here. The 2021 Act contains corresponding provisions for Northern Ireland (sections 73, 74(3) and Part 3 of Schedule 3) which are also expected to be commenced shortly.
  • Polygraph testing (section 76 – 5 July): a three-year pilot has commenced in four probation areas covering 13 police force areas for mandatory polygraph examinations on domestic abuse perpetrators released on licence identified as being at high or very high risk of causing serious harm.
  • Homelessness (section 78 – 5 July): those who are homeless as a result of domestic abuse now have priority need status where eligible for local authority accommodation.

The following measures will also come into effect within six months of Royal Assent and on 1 October 2021:

  • Definition of domestic abuse (sections 1-2): the new definition emphasises that domestic abuse is not just physical violence, but can also take other forms such as emotional, controlling and coercive behaviour, and economic abuse between two people aged 16 or over who are personally connected. Section 3 of the 2021 Act, recognising children as victims, will be commenced in the second stage (see below). The Home Office has launched a public consultation on the statutory guidance which will accompany the statutory definition of domestic abuse. The guidance expands further on the different types of abuse and the forms they can take and how the definition can be implemented. The consultation closes on 14 September 2021. If you would like to provide views, you can respond online or complete a response form and email it to domesticabuseconsultation@homeoffice.gov.uk. The intention is to publish the final guidance in November/December 2021, subject to the number of responses received.
  • Local Authority support (sections 57-61): Tier 1 Local Authorities in England will have new duties relating to the provision of support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in safe accommodation such as refuges. The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government is currently analysing the consultation responses to its draft guidance which will assist local authorities in exercising their new functions, the final version of which will be published shortly.
  • Special Measures in the Family Court (section 63): rules of court will put in place an assumption that the quality of a person’s evidence and/or their ability to participate in family proceedings will be diminished by reason of vulnerability where they are a victim of domestic abuse. This builds on a requirement already set out in rules of court to requiring it to consider the use of special measures, such as giving evidence via video link or from behind a screen, where it considers a person vulnerable. However, the rules will also provide an exception for instances where a person does not wish to be deemed eligible for special measures.
  • Prohibition on GP charging (section 80): specified healthcare professionals will be prohibited from charging a victim of domestic abuse for a letter to support an application for legal aid.

Stage 2: November 2021 – May 2022

The majority of measures will be in force within about a year of Royal Assent. Building on the progress made during the first six months since Royal Assent, we intend to commence the following provisions in November 2021:

  • Domestic Abuse Commissioner (sections 4-21): The Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs’ role will be put on a statutory footing as set out in the 2021 Act. Aside from her key role in encouraging good practice in tackling domestic abuse, including by overseeing and monitoring the provision of domestic abuse services in England and Wales, Government ministers and specified public bodies will have a duty to respond to any recommendations made in a report published by the Commissioner.
  • Secure tenancies (section 79): local authorities, when re-housing an existing lifetime social tenant, or offering them a new sole tenancy in their own home, will grant a new lifetime tenancy if the local authority is satisfied that the tenant or a member of their household has been a victim of domestic abuse and the new tenancy is granted in connection with that abuse.

We will also commence special Measures in the Criminal Court (section 62) in late autumn / winter 2021-22 with the exact timings currently being finalised: it will provide automatic eligibility for complainants of offences relating to domestic abuse to be considered for special measures in criminal proceedings, on the basis that they will now be regarded as intimidated witnesses (under section 17(4) of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (the 1999Act) and as a result will not have to demonstrate fear or distress to be eligible for special measures. This will bring complainants of domestic abuse in line with witnesses who are already eligible under the 1999 Act such as complainants of sex and modern-day slavery offences. Granting special measures applications remains a judicial decision.

We intend to commence the following provisions in January 2022:

  • Children as victims of domestic abuse (section 3): following the commencement of the new and wider definition of domestic abuse in October 2021, children will also be explicitly recognised in law as victims of domestic abuse where they see, hear or experience the effects of such abuse.
  • Placing the guidance supporting the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (“Clare’s law”) on a statutory footing (section 77): enabling the police to disclose information to a victim or potential victim of domestic abuse about their partner’s or ex-partner’s previous abusive or violent offending. The guidance for the Scheme will be placed on a statutory footing which will place a duty on the police to have regard to the guidance to strengthen the visibility and consistent operation of the scheme.

We intend to commence the following provisions by May 2022:

  • Special Measures in the Civil Court (section 64): to provide protections similar to those in the family and criminal courts, in civil proceedings. Rules of court must enable the use of special measures to protect victims and those at risk of being victims of domestic abuse, and victims and alleged victims of specified offences (to be set out in regulations). Rules of court will enable the use of special measures in such cases where necessary if the quality of evidence or a person’s participation in proceedings is likely to be diminished because of their vulnerability.
  • Prohibition of cross-examination in family and civil proceedings (sections 65 and 66): cross-examination of, or by, a vulnerable party or witness may be prohibited. Where this occurs, the Court must consider whether there are satisfactory alternative means to cross-examine the witness (e.g. by using special measures), or alternative means of obtaining evidence other than cross-examination. The Court will be required to appoint a court-appointed qualified legal representative to conduct cross-examination where no alternative exists. The prohibition of cross-examination will be automatic for specified offences, protective injunctions, and when wider evidence criteria are met (all to be laid out in regulations by early 2022). The Court may also prohibit cross-examination where it considers the quality of evidence would be affected or the level of distress would be unjustified. The Lord Chancellor will also publish statutory guidance on the role of the advocate whose fees will be set through regulations.
  • Use of ‘barring orders’ in the family courts (section 67): existing provisions in section 91(14) of the Children Act 1989 to make a ‘barring order’ to prevent further proceedings without the court’s permission, will be clarified to stop vexatious family proceedings that can further traumatise victims and their children.
  • Extending the controlling or coercive behaviour offence to cover post-separation abuse (section 68): the existing criminal offence for controlling or coercive behaviour (CCB) provided in section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 will be expanded so that it is no longer a requirement for abusers and victims to live together. Currently the offence applies to intimate and former intimate partners, and family members, who live together. However, as a result of this change, post-separation and familial abuse where the parties do not live together will be within scope of the 2021 Act.
  • Creating a new offence of non-fatal strangulation (section 70): this new criminal offence will apply in all cases of intentional strangulation or suffocation, including in the context of domestic abuse. Contained in sections 75A and 75B of the Serious Crime Act 2015, it applies to offences committed in England and Wales, and to those committed abroad by a person who is a UK national (as defined in section 75B(2) of the 2021 Act) or who is habitually resident in England and Wales but commits an act of strangulation of suffocation in a country outside the United Kingdom. The maximum penalty for the offence is five years imprisonment and/or a fine.

Stage 3: Early 2023

  • Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders: we will be piloting both the Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders in a small number of areas across England and Wales. In preparation, we are developing specifications for police forces and courts that will be used to select suitable pilot areas. The pilot is expected to commence in 2023 and will run for approximately two years ahead of national roll out.

Appendix C: Support services available

Local services

Apna Ghar

Offers support to minority ethnic women.

Changing Lives GAP (Girls Are Proud) / MAP (Male Action Project)

Changing Lives GAP / MAP provides assertive outreach to vulnerable men and women who are involved in sex work or at risk of being sexually exploited and are over the age of 16.

Changing Lives Domestic Abuse Services

Changing Lives support women and girls who have suffered from childhood abuse and domestic abuse. We understand the on-going impact this has, and we focus on recovery, resilience and community integration.

Domestic & Sexual Violence Workplace Champions

Form part of a Northumbria-wide network of Champions. Domestic Violence Workplace Champions have an important role within their organisations, both in the public and private sector, in raising awareness around the issue of domestic and sexual violence and guiding people, including their colleagues, towards help and guidance.

Homefinder (Homeless Service)

This service provides advice and assistance to those who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or are unable to remain in their current home.

Impact Family Services

Impact Family Services provides services for individuals and families who are facing a difficult time due to separation and/or divorce, domestic violence and abuse, and for children and young people affected by family or peer relationships.

Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVA) Service

Provides crisis intervention, support, advice and information to high risk victims of domestic abuse (male and female, including those in same sex relationships) whether you are still in a relationship or are separated from your partner.

Northumbria Police: Choice helpline

Northumbria Police Helpline provides confidential advice and assistance to anyone who may be suffering from Honour-Based Violence or has been or may be forced into marriage.

Northumbria Police: Safeguarding Department

Northumbria Police Safeguarding Department provides help and advice to victims and investigates rape offences, domestic and child abuse as well as monitors sex offenders and dangerous offenders living in the community.

Places for People (South Tyneside Women's Aid) Women's Refuge

Places for People offers advice and support as well as providing safe, temporary and emergency accommodation to women, with or without children, at risk of domestic abuse.

Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland (RCTN)

Provides information, support and counselling to girls and women, aged 13 and over, who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any times in their lives.

REACH (Rape, Examination, Advice and Counselling Help)

Free, confidential counselling, support and advice service for women aged 16 and over.

Relate Northumberland and Tyneside

Offers a range of services to help with all relationships, whether young or old, straight or gay, single or in a relationship.

Respect

A confidential and anonymous helpline for anyone concerned about their violence and/or abuse towards a partner or ex-partner.

Safe Hands Children's Service (Impact Family Services)

Ear 4 U Children's Service provides support and advice for children, aged 5 - 11 who have witnessed and been affected by domestic abuse.

Sanctuary Scheme

If the fear of domestic abuse is making you think about moving, the Sanctuary Scheme could make it possible for you to stay living safely in your own home, if the perpetrator no longer lives there.

South Tyneside Domestic Abuse Perpetrators Programme (STDAPP)

The programme is for any man who is concerned about his behaviour towards his partner or ex-partner and wants to change. This service is no longer operating an open door policy – they are now commissioned to provide a limited service via referral from Children Social Care only.

Women's Health in South Tyneside (WHiST)

WHiST provides a wide range of services for women in South Tyneside.

National services

Chinese Information Advice Centre: Women Support Project

Provides support to women victims of domestic violence on issues relating to housing, legal protection, welfare benefits and children.

Elder Abuse Response Line

Elder Abuse Response Line offers a confidential helpline.

Forced Marriage Unit

Provides advice and support to victims of forced marriage as well as to professionals dealing with cases.

Galop

Galop provides emotional and practical support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experiencing domestic abuse.

Halo Project

Halo Project supports victims of honour-based violence, forced marriages, and FGM by providing appropriate advice and support to victims, relatives and friends.

Jewish Women's Aid

A confidential and untraceable helpline service, which supports Jewish women and their children who are sufferers of domestic violence.

Mankind Initiative

The Mankind Initiative is a charity offering information and support to men who are victims of domestic abuse or violence.

Men's Advice Line

Men's Advice Line provides confidential support for any man experiencing domestic violence or abuse.

Men's Aid Charity

Provides practical advice and support to men who have been abused.

National Centre for Domestic Violence

Provides a free, fast emergency injunction service to survivors of domestic violence.

National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline

Provides a service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf.

National Stalking Helpline

Provides information and guidance on the law, how to report stalking, gathering evidence, staying safe and reducing the risk.

Polish Domestic Violence Helpline

Provides Polish people who are experiencing domestic violence with a confidential contact, which will allow them to talk about their situation in their native language and to obtain information about available help and support.

Respect Website

Respect is a UK domestic abuse membership organisation for work with perpetrators, male victims and young people's violence in close relationships.

Women’s Aid

We are a grassroots federation working together to provide life-saving services and build a future where domestic violence is not tolerated. Freephone 24 hr National Domestic Violence Helpline Run in partnership between Women’s Aid & Refuge

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