Agenda item

Domestic Abuse

An overview of Domestic Abuse Services, the position and response in Warwickshire.



Emma Guest, WCC Domestic Abuse (DA) Commissioner and Harriet Birch from Refuge presented an overview of domestic abuse services, the position and response in Warwickshire. Partnership working was central to providing an effective response and characterised Warwickshire’s approach and its recognised good practice.


Harriet Birch spoke to the following sections of the report:

·                 What is DA?

·                 Warwickshire’s DA Service. This detailed the accommodation and resettlement support and DA community support services.


Emma Guest then presented the following sections:

·                 Demand, need and performance in Warwickshire.

·               Warwickshire’s partnership response to DA with an outline of the various groups involved:

·     Warwickshire’s Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Board and Sub-Groups.

·     Emerging Trends.

·     DA Partnership Communications Group.

·     Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) Steering Group.

·     Domestic Homicide Review Sub-Group.

·     Safe Accommodation Working Group.

·     DA Partnership Commissioning Group.

·     Harmful Practices Group.

·     Coventry and Warwickshire Sexual Violence Partnership Board.

·     Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Group.

·     COVID impact and response, together with performance during Covid restrictions.

·               The DA Act 2021, comprising the aims of the Act, specific new duties for all upper tier local authorities to provide “Safe Accommodation and Support”, the government funding provided and progress to date.

·               Delivering improvement activity underway and planned, with an outline of successful initiatives to date.

·               Future plans and priorities to be delivered over the next twelve months.


Through discussions with the government, the Local Government Association, the national DA Commissioners Office and other local authorities, the Council had been assured that it was making good progress to meet the new duties of the DA Act and to make improvements to the support offer for adult and child victim-survivors in Warwickshire.


An appendix to the report provided details of how domestic abuse could be reported and the support services available for anyone who was a victim of abuse or had concerns about family, friends or colleagues that were / or might be a victim of DA.


Questions and comments were submitted, with responses provided as indicated:

  • A point about the volume of calls for police support related to domestic abuse issues often linked to drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Reference to the refuge accommodation provision within the county. There were currently 24 units of accommodation and endeavours to increase this to provide another 36 units of accommodation. A member commented that current demand levels exceeded this and some people had to be located out of county in hotels or bed and breakfast accommodation, which could add additional risks.
  • It may be several years before a victim decided to seek assistance.
  • A concern was raised around domestic violence and abuse cases identified at school. School staff who were not sufficiently trained to intervene sought help from other agencies. The current arrangements were not adequate and there was a need for better support, education and communication. Whilst the new Act was welcomed, this was a significant issue which needed further investigation. The member offered to pursue this after the meeting, which was welcomed. An outline was given of the range of professionals involved and the multi-agency case conference approach to manage risks for individuals and their families. The Safe Accommodation Strategy sought to increase the number of accommodation units and assurances were provided about the quality of accommodation used.
  • Reference to the contact details provided in the appendix. An acknowledgement that text message and telephone applications may provide a better means of crisis alert, as making a ‘999’ call could exacerbate the situation.
  • The Portfolio Holder noted that the Safe Accommodation Strategy included an aim around moving the offender, not the family. This would need a multi-agency approach and strategy to provide alternate accommodation for relocation of the perpetrator. 
  • The Chair confirmed that the Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council had adopted this strategy. She stated for any person in need of support, that there were services available and a range of pathways. In an emergency, the police should be contacted by dialing ‘999’. Refuge could be contacted on 0800 408 1552. She urged anyone suffering DA to take action.
  • It was confirmed that the report provided an overview of services from the victims’ perspective. An independent review of the partnership response to DA was commissioned and its recommendations were being worked through. Funding had been secured via the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to establish a DA perpetrator programme to seek behavioural change. Further work was planned on a strategy to reduce violent crime which would include a focus on DA aspects. This provided a change to focus on the perpetrator. Everyone had a role in dealing with DA and to share information appropriately.
  • Concerns were raised about DA involving former partners and this needed to be included within the services provided. The new DA Act had a broader definition and included previous relationships, which were responsible for a significant number of the cases where support was provided.




1.      That the Committee notes Warwickshire’s position and response to Domestic Abuse, as outlined in the report.


That the Committee supports the future plans of the partnership as outlined in section eight of the report.

Supporting documents: