[Electoral Divisions: All Carlisle]
To receive a presentation from the Executive Director – People (copy enclosed).
Members received a detailed presentation on domestic abuse which provided an update on background, data and current activity.
The Committee was informed of the impact abuse had on children, noting the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 imposed a duty in relation to victims of domestic abuse which included children.
Members were informed that approximately 45% of Children’s Social Care open cases featured domestic abuse; an independent scrutineer was commissioned to evaluate and recommend improvements for Children’s Services responses to domestic abuse to develop and strengthen practice around this, with support social workers obtaining a better understanding around this matter. Officers explained risk assessments were being reviewed with safety planning which linked in with the approach and exploration of patterns of abuse were part of the training undertaken.
The Committee noted that data for Carlisle showed domestic abuse in families where children were living had increased year on year and it was suggested that the increase over the last three years may be due to the pandemic.
Members were informed that referrals into the Safeguarding Hub for Domestic Abuse in Carlisle had declined which it was felt was due to children not being seen by schools and health settings on a daily basis.
A discussion took place regarding the data received for domestic abuse in each area highlighting the strong correlation with deprivation.
The Committee received an update on the other workstreams which included a review of personal, social, and health education support, CEASE Programme, review of Multi?Agency Risk Assessment Conferences, Operation Encompass and Therapeutic Support.
The local Member for Stanwix Urban thanked officers, Portfolio Holder and all agencies for their support during the pandemic to ensure children were kept safe; welcoming regular updates at future meetings of the Local Committee through the Children and Young People’s Working Group.
A discussion took place regarding the decision as to whether the victim or perpetrator should leave their home when the domestic abuse took place there. Officers explained that a Perpetrator Strategy was due to be launched later in the year which would include the victim being afforded the choice to stay in the home. Members were informed that currently social workers worked closely with families to keep victims and children in the home with support being provided to the perpetrator to find alternative accommodation.
A discussion took place regarding Government funding and officers confirmed this was to provide support in domestic abuse supported accommodation with work being undertaken with district councils to ensure appropriate and adequate accommodation was available.
The local Member for Belle Vue highlighted the community hub which was being established in her Division on Shadygrove Road and welcomed the opportunity to provide support. Officers welcomed this and agreed to discuss the matter further.
The Committee discussed the removal of children from the family home and placed into the care of the local authority. Officers explained that extensive interventions took place to keep families together unless the matter was deemed urgent.
A discussion took place regarding an increase in domestic abuse. Officers explained that awareness had been heightened which had seen an increase in referrals, whilst highlighting that there was also a likely increase in incidence of domestic abuse linked with the wider social economic situation as well as other contributory factors such as mental health and addictions.
The Chair thanked officers for their presentation.