Why is it a priority?
Domestic violence (DV) and other abuse is the most prevalent cause of depression and other mental health difficulties in women and more than 50% of women in contact with mental health services have experienced or are experiencing abuse.
Broader impacts include: loss of employment, increased risk of becoming homeless, risky sexual behaviour and eating disorders. Domestic violence is the most common crime committed against women in Greenwich, although it should not be forgotten that 20% of all DV incidents reported to the police involve male victims. In 2014/15 there were 2,710 offenses flagged as DV-related, making up over one third of all offences of violence against the person.
As an issue with a high volume and significant impact, particularly on vulnerable groups, addressing domestic violence and abuse is a key priority for partners seeking to improve health and wellbeing in Greenwich.
What could make a difference at a local level?
Evidence suggests that the following approaches are helpful in reducing the incidence and impact of domestic violence and abuse:
- School based education programmes to promote healthy relationships and reduce violence towards dating partners
- Routine enquiries through healthcare settings or by healthcare professionals to improve identifications of domestic violence
- Protection orders to reduce incidence of victims being attacked again
- Specialist Domestic Violence courts to increase arrests and prosecutions
- Substance abuse treatment for offenders to reduce re-offending
- Regulating alcohol sales is associated with reduced intimate partner violence
What are the opportunities for improvement in Greenwich?
In Greenwich 32.3% of all reported crimes with a domestic violence indicator also have an alcohol indicator. This suggests that a coordinated approach to alcohol harm prevention among agencies across the borough could impact on a significant number of DV incidents. Greenwich is developing a multi-agency Alcohol Strategy 2016-2020 to reduce alcohol harms and population level alcohol consumption.
A Domestic Violence and Abuse Strategy 2013-17 is in place, which seeks understand and tackle the causes and persistence of domestic violence and recognise the complex factors that perpetuate abusive relationships, including alcohol/substance misuse and mental health.
The Royal Greenwich Strategy for tackling Domestic Violence and Abuse is focused on four key strategic aims:
- Protection, reducing re-victimisation and mitigation: helping protect victims and their families, reducing repeat victimisation and mitigating the impact that domestic violence and abuse has on their lives
- Deploying the powers of the Criminal Justice System and Civil Courts to deal with abusers and further protect victims
- Preventing domestic violence and abuse from happening in the first place
- Tackling social tolerance and blindness of domestic violence and abuse by individuals and organisations