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FRESH IMPETUS FOR COUNCILS TO TACKLE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

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Domestic violence, which accounts for nearly one fifth of all recorded violent crime, is being confronted with fres...
Domestic violence, which accounts for nearly one fifth of all recorded violent crime, is being confronted with fresh vigour in town halls up and down the country, as councils gain new impetus to build on proven techniques to tackle the crime.

Local authorities have now begun using a new measure of performance which will look at the range of services they provide, such as housing, social care and education to tackle the problem of domestic violence.

To help with the implementation of the new performance indicator, the Local Government Association has published a special guidance pamphlet on the topic, which is being sent out to all local authorities. It details the statutory responsibilities that local authorities have, spells out the details of the new indicator and lists extensive case studies and examples of good practice. It will also help to raise the public profile of the role that councils play, as well as promoting areas of good practice that have already proved to be effective

Bryony Rudkin, chair of the LGA's safer communities board, says: 'Nearly half of all female murder victims are killed by a current or former partner. By building on what works, local authorities are key to helping to address the problem.

'Many authorities are already involved in innovative schemes to address this issue and these will be encouraged and their success measured under the new system. They range from projects that guarantee victims full protection in their homes to building preventative approaches to domestic violence into the school curriculum. Councils will also need to demonstrate that they are taking a partnership approach to the problem and working and sharing information effectively with other local agencies.

'The guidance we are issuing is designed to help councils rise to the challenge and to give them practical examples of what their counterparts in other areas of the country have done to ensure that this insidious and prolific crime, which costs the taxpayer an estimated£5.7bn every year, can be effectively addressed.'

Notes

1. The new Best Value Performance Indicator 'BV 225', came into force on 1 April 2005

2. The LGA guidance pamphlet 'Implementing the new domestic violence Best Value Performance Indicator' was published on 19 April. It is available in PDF version from the LGA press office and includes a number of case studies.

3. Domestic violence accounts for 16% of all recorded violent crime and costs£5.7bn a year in social services, housing and lost economic output. Nearly half of all female murder victims are killed by a current or former partner.

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