Buckinghamshire Domestic Violence and Abuse Strategy 2021 to 2024
One in 20 adults are estimated to experience domestic abuse every year, equating to almost 21,000 people a year in Buckinghamshire or 57 people every day. It is a crime which disproportionately affects women, however it can happen to anyone anywhere irrespective of sexuality, religion, gender, ethnicity, income or age.
Often hidden from view, at home and out of sight, the impact of domestic abuse is far-reaching and long-lasting, causing a ripple effect into all parts of a person’s life. It can be devastating on physical and mental health with serious consequences for children witnessing domestic abuse. The pandemic has had an immeasurable impact with it being branded as an ‘epidemic beneath the pandemic.’
In Buckinghamshire we are taking a zero tolerance approach and feel ending domestic abuse is everyone’s business.
Making people feel safe requires a thorough co-ordinated response from government, local authorities, partners and the public. Everyone’s situation is different, and a one- size-fits-all approach does not work, but if we can talk about it, we can start to make the change.
Understanding what domestic abuse is and how it impacts on individuals, families and communities is crucial to ensuring that high-quality and cost-effective services are delivered.
We have a strong collaborative ethos across Buckinghamshire with many excellent statutory and voluntary sector services working well together, but we know we can do more. The Buckinghamshire Domestic Abuse Board, as part of Safer Buckinghamshire Partnership, is looking to strengthen and coordinate our responses across our services.
Recognising the high level of unreported abuse taking place, and that people in different circumstances are impacted by domestic abuse in different ways, it is important that we work together. We need to strengthen our collective knowledge of unreported abuse and ensure services are accessible as early as possible and can meet individual needs.
We were pleased to see the Domestic Abuse Act received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021; this gives more resources to tackle this critical issue. With the new duties we are now publishing our intentions to drive forward a three-year strategy for victim support and safe accommodation. The Act and the introduction of a Domestic Abuse Commissioner is important to help raise awareness and ensure the advocacy continues.
We want Buckinghamshire to be a place where as few people as possible are affected by domestic abuse, but those who are can get help to end the abuse and go on to live the lives they want.
This strategy is about how we want to develop and improve domestic abuse services over the next three years. Underpinned by a SMART action plan, this document sets out our commitments which have been informed by a review of the effectiveness of current practice and the changing national context alongside qualitative and quantitative data from a range of contributors.
A key element is the voice of survivors, children and young people and professionals. Every voice counts and it is important we continue to listen and respond to feedback in order to make real progress.
None of us can do this alone; our partnership is vital. It is only by working together that we can hope to develop our understanding, approach and provision in such a way that we increase the safety and life chances of everyone in Buckinghamshire.
Steve Bowles - Cabinet Member Communities
Angela Macpherson - Deputy Leader, Cabinet Member Health and Wellbeing
Arif Hussain - Deputy Cabinet Member Community Safety
Nick Naylor - Cabinet Member Housing, Homelessness and Regulatory Services
Anita Cranmer - Cabinet Member Education & Children’s Services