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Agenda item


To provide an update in respect of the completed Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment 2018; and progress with delivering the Blackpool Domestic Abuse and Interpersonal Violence (DAIV) Partnership’s Action Plan.


Mr Tony Morrissey, Head of Safeguarding /Principal Social Worker, Blackpool Council and Chair of the Blackpool Domestic Abuse and Interpersonal Violence Partnership Sub-Group presented an update on the completed Blackpool Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment and progress being made with delivering the Blackpool Domestic Abuse and Interpersonal Violence (DAIV)’s Action Plan.


The Chairman enquired why funding for domestic abuse services was ‘fragmented and insecure’ impacting upon the planning and effective delivery of services. Mr Morrissey explained that poor funding arrangements were a national issue. Some funding came from government, some was ring-fenced but there was no long-term sustained budget. He was aiming to promote the need for a pooled budget from across the Blackpool Domestic Abuse and Interpersonal Violence Partnership. This would provide better value and promote more effective commissioning of services including better support for domestic abuse refuges.


The Chairman also enquired why there were year-on-year increases in police call-outs for domestic abuse incidents. Mr Morrissey informed Members that Blackpool had a holistic partnership approach working with victims, families and perpetrators. There were a number of resources and programmes, e.g. Inner Strength Programme which provided a route for perpetrators to move away from patterns of violence andworking with schools to get across messages of health relationships including that domestic abuse was not acceptable or normal. Domestic abuse work was being taken forward as a public health issue, e.g. domestic abuse needs were evidenced within the Public Health Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). He emphasised that preventing domestic abuse was paramount.


Mr Morrissey added that Blackpool was good at raising awareness of issues and tackling perpetrators.  However, it was important to use evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of work, i.e. not to continue with approaches that were not having the right impact and outcomes sought to reduce domestic abuse. A university had been commissioned to undertake evaluation of work.


The Committee enquired how the effectiveness of the Troubled Families Programme was measured. Members were informed that the Programme came within government ‘payment by results’ criteria which covered more than domestic abuse work such as anti-social behaviour, employment opportunities and improving self-esteem. The Council’s Families in Need Service led on the Programme offering a range of support including early help. He added that demand was high within Children’s Services although causes and effective actions had been improved making some impact,


In response to a query about whether same sex abuse was an issue, refuge space for men and also keeping perpetrators away, Mr Morrissey explained that abusers and victims came from all groups and backgrounds.  He added that male victims could be unwilling to come forward so it was important to offer a good range of support services for all victims. The police did have powers to tackle perpetrators.


Members expressed concern that the number of repeat cases discussed at Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC) had dropped to 74 in 2015-2016 from 153 in 2014-2015 but had then risen again to 153 in 2016-2017. Mr Morrissey explained that these were high risk cases. Blackpool’s case numbers were high when compared nationally and the highest in the sub-region. There could be issues such as whether the pathway for making referrals through to action was right. He explained that the police were reviewing the process and looking into reasons for repeat cases.  Managing demand was important. 


The Chairman enquired whether there were sufficient refuge spaces for any urgent accommodation requests. Members were informed that refuge space was a national issue and there was high local demand.  However, safe space would be found for anyone in urgent need which could include ‘out-of-area’ options; this might be best given that someone might be trying to flee from a local perpetrator. Empowering people was also highlighted as important so that they felt safe in a place.

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