Consultation: Domestic Abuse Strategy

About the consultation: Domestic Abuse Strategy

Consultation closed: Sunday 28 November 2021
Consultation opened: Monday 8 November 2021

Domestic abuse is a devastating crime. Anyone can be a victim, regardless of age, ability, race, culture, gender identity or sexual orientation. One in four women and one in six men will be affected by domestic abuse in their lifetimes, which equates to just over 2 million adults. Women are twice as likely to experience domestic abuse as men.

Domestic abuse is defined as:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse; psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional.

It includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, verbal abuse, online and digital abuse, religious/spiritual abuse, honour-based violence, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, stalking and harassment.

Data provided by Bedfordshire Police shows that in 2020/21 domestic abuse accounted for 16% of all crime in Central Bedfordshire. 

Domestic abuse is a leading cause of homelessness. SafeLives Insights data shows that 22% of people accessing support from a domestic abuse service were living with the perpetrator when they entered the service. Locally, in 2021 an average of 21 approaches were made to our housing teams each month by residents at risk of homelessness as a result of domestic abuse.

The new Domestic Abuse Act 2021 places a duty on all local authorities to work in partnership to provide services and pursue perpetrators. It has a focus on providing safe accommodation which it defines as accommodation that is:

...solely dedicated to providing a safe place to stay for victims of domestic abuse, including expert support...

Read the definition of safe accommodation.

The focus on safe accommodation is to ensure that all victims are supported to remain safe in their own home if they wish to and it is safe to do so, or to help them access alternative accommodation and support. Helping victims access safe accommodation also aims to achieve a sustainable long-term reduction in the frequency of abuse, and ensure future generations aren’t impacted by abuse.

Our proposed Domestic Abuse Strategy outlines how we'll work with partners to prevent domestic abuse and provide support for victims in Central Bedfordshire.

The strategy has been informed by our work around domestic abuse over the past 18 months, which has included gathering evidence and research, conducting assessments and engagement with residents and service users.

Before adopting the strategy, we wanted to hear from the public, so carried out consultation.