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Credit crunch leads to rise in domestic abuse

Financial difficulties brought about by the economic crisis have contributed to a significant rise in domestic abuse, a council meeting heard this week.

The number of domestic violence incidents recorded in Windsor and Maidenhead in the 12 months up to the end of September was 1,685 – a 36 per cent jump on the equivalent figure from March 2008.

“That is really quite significant,” said the borough’s community safety manager Brian Martin.
“I’m sure you can put that down in part to encouraging people to report, but it is also the economic situation.”

The Community Safety Partnership meeting, which includes representatives from police, fire and the council, met on Tuesday to discuss the area’s crime and disorder concerns.

Among them was a lack of funding that meant Berkshire East and South Bucks Women’s Aid, which has seen the number of referrals of Royal Borough victims increase 61 per cent in a year, was unable to support 32 at-risk Royal Borough victims between April and August this year.

Sophie Wing-King, domestic abuse co-ordinator for East Berkshire, asked the council to fund two new workers to plug the gap.

She predicts that at least 118 victims in Windsor and Maidenhead will have to be turned away from the branch in the coming year if it cannot increase its workforce.

The borough would save hundreds of thousands of pounds thanks to a reduced need for police, medical and social services intervention, the Women’s Aid branch argued.

Ian Trenholm, chief executive of the council, said they would not be able to give an answer until the council budget is decided in February.

Source: Maidenhead Advertiser

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