Gap in services for domestic violence victims identified in Calderdale

A gap in services for victims of domestic abuse has been identified in Calderdale.

The district’s Community Safety Partnership is taking stock of all the services it provides for victims in time for a new definition of domestic violence and abuse that comes into force from March 2013.

The definiton has been extended to ‘any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are of have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality’.

Part of the change is aimed at increasing awareness that young people experience domestic violence and abuse and encourage more of them to come forward.

However, the definition now also includes ‘coercive control’, highlighting the cumulative impact of the type of behaviour tpical of perpetrators, rather than defing domestic violence as a single act.

A report to go before Calderdale Council’s communities scrutiny panel on Thursday states: “The siginificance for Calderdale is that unlike neighbouring areas there is no early intervention programme for perpetrators to address their behaviour. The only work with perpetrators is delivered by Probation West Yorkshire for those already convicted.”

The report concludes that “there is an identified need for early intervention work with perpetrators but this will need to be addressed in the contxext of limited funding”.

According to the report, there were 2,388 domestic abuse incidents in West Yorkshire reported between January and October 2012, compared to 2,106 for the same period in 2011.