Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Cabinet has given the green light to a new Domestic Abuse Strategy which will ensure high-quality domestic abuse services across the borough and help achieve the Council’s vision for all residents to live lives free from domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse often happens behind closed doors. The Council works closely with partners including the Police to make sure residents can get the help they need through the Open the Door campaign, which aims to bring domestic abuse out into the open.
The Council wants to improve the health and wellbeing of residents and their families who experience domestic abuse, by creating an environment that supports disclosure and recovery for those who are harmed and provides challenge and support for those who harm.
The new strategy will work around five priorities: assessing risk, intervening earlier, providing services for those who are harmed, providing services for children and young people and challenging those who harm and giving them effective support.
It will raise awareness of what domestic abuse is and what services and communities working together can do about it and will result in west Cheshire being an even safer and happier place to live.
Councillor Robert Cernik, Cabinet Member for Children and Families said: “Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of characteristics such as gender, age, sexual orientation and ethnicity. It can also be committed by anyone.
“Abuse not only affects the person who is being harmed, it also has a detrimental effect on children who witness or live with it. For children living with domestic abuse, they experience huge amounts of trauma, which can have severe negative impacts on their development, as well as causing life-long effects. This is one of the many reasons that Cheshire West and Chester take a trauma informed approach to working with children and their families.”
Councillor Val Armstrong, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said: “We wanted this strategy to be supported not only by a sound evidence base, but by the views and experiences of people who have lived through the circumstances and services that we are talking about.
“The views of participants have been invaluable and can, we hope, be clearly seen throughout; and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their openness and honesty.
“The Council want west Cheshire to be a place where domestic abuse is spoken about openly and residents who are harmed can access the services they need.”
The new strategy for 2021 – 2025 builds on the strong foundations created by the previous Domestic Abuse Strategy 2016-20 and has been created taking account of the new duties within the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and in collaboration with the West Cheshire Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board.
The Domestic Abuse Act means that there is now a definition of domestic abuse enshrined in law, emphasising that domestic abuse is not just physical or sexual violence, but can also be emotional, coercive, or controlling, and economic abuse.