FENLAND has the highest levels of domestic abuse in the county but work is now underway to help beat this often hidden issue.
A member led review by Cambridgeshire County Council into domestic abuse and how it is dealt with has resulted in two intervention workers being appointed in Fenland.
And Wisbech county councillor Samantha Hoy, who chaired the review panel, is delighted the council has set aside £400,000 to help deal with the issue county-wide.
“There was no money set aside for domestic violence in Cambridgeshire before the review - now we have £400,000. The review has also drawn up an agreed definition of what constitutes domestic abuse which is used by every agency.
“Domestic abuse is something that affects people of all classes and both genders - although it is mostly women who suffer. Fenland has the highest prevalence in the whole county and we are also quite high nationally,” explained Miss Hoy, who admits it is a difficult issue to deal with.
Domestic abuse is not just about violence it can also be mental cruelty with a person being controlled such as being banned from seeing family and friends, being refused access to money and being stopped from going out.
“For some reason domestic violence is tolerated by society, it is almost accepted. But it is not acceptable, women need help and understanding to get out of these damaging relationships. People say why doesn’t she just leave her husband or partner if he is beating her up. But it is not that simple. The woman is afraid she might lose her children, she might not have any money and she has no where to go. She may love the man who is doing this to her and she is convinced it is her fault he is doing it. It is a very difficult situation and that is where these new outreach workers can help,” said Miss Hoy.
The workers offer support and advice to victims and provide them with the help they need to make the break.
“Dealing with domestic violence is not a statutory duty for councils, but we can show that by investing money in helping victims we can save money in the long-run. The victims won’t need hospital treatment, police won’t be called to deal with incidents and society will benefit as a whole,” concluded Miss Hoy.
If you need help contact: 24hour domestic violence helpline: 0808 2000247 or contact the Fenland outreach workers on: 0778-7255821.