POLICE in Cheshire West and Chester attended almost 4,000 domestic incidents last year, according to the Cheshire Domestic Abuse Partnership.Š
The figures appear in the annual report of Chester Women's Aid.Š
Of the 3,953 incidents, 23% were repeats and 3,039 children were present.ŠA total of 495 referrals were made to domestic abuse family safety units and over 150 women and children were supported in refuges in Vale Royal, Chester and Ellesmere Port.Š
In 128 very high risk cases, involving 186 children, a multi-agency risk assessment conference was held.Š
The safeguarding children in education team supported 63 children and young people and over 70 children and young people were supported on specialist programmes.Š
Of the incidents attended by police, 13% resulted in the conviction of an offender at the Chester and Ellesmere Port specialist domestic violence court.Š
The partnership says it supports those affected by domestic abuse through intervention involving routine screening in women's health services, publicity, education for all children in schools and training a wide range of staff to”ask the question”.
Specialist support is offered to adults through domestic abuse family safety units, based in police stations, which provide independent support to those at the highest risk and help for those with ongoing needs.Š
For those at the very highest risk, the multi-agency risk assessment conferences enable the organisations involved to share information and act together to reduce the risk of serious harm and homicide.Š
The refuges provide accommodation, support and other services.Š
For those who perpetrate domestic abuse, the partnership says the police, the Local Criminal Justice Board and the crime and disorder reduction partnerships are key partners in dealing with domestic abuse and bringing offenders to justice through the specialist domestic violence court which deals with cases within six weeks.Š
Support is given to encourage victims and witnesses to support the speedy prosecutions and the probation service provides programmes to change men's attitudes and behaviour.Š
Tackling sexual violence is also a priority as this crime is most often perpetrated by partners or ex-partners.Š
The partnership also works to reach the most vulnerable people who suffer behind closed doors.Š
Cheshire County Council provides £500,000 in funding to support domestic abuse work throughout the county and it is thought the cost savings resulting from the decreases in repeat incidents is £2m.