Concerns over Wokingham’s new domestic violence strategy
The strategy for combating domestic violence in Wokingham has been defined.
At a meeting yesterday (Wednesday 15 December), the executive committee of Wokingham Borough Council approved the publication of its 2021-24 domestic violence strategy, which outlines how domestic violence will be tackled in the rounding.
The council hopes to tackle the problem by reaching out to victims to provide support and encourage broader change to move towards a society in which people can live without fear of abuse or violence.
This involves working to prevent and intervene early in patterns of abuse to stop escalation, and education in schools to move towards social norms that do not tolerate violence and abuse.
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The strategy will run for three years and will include work with partners such as schools and the police. Primarily, it will be up to those who commit acts of violence to change their behavior.
The strategy was praised by members of the conservative executive committee, which was approved unanimously.
However, concerns have been expressed that the council’s new domestic violence shelter service provider, Cranstoun, does not have a safe haven for people fleeing violence.
Cllr Sarah Kerr (Liberal Democrats, Evendons) asked, “How was a contract awarded for a domestic violence shelter service to a provider who has no domestic violence provisions? ”
Cllr Bill Soanne, (Curator, Loddon), Executive Member of Neighborhood and Communities, defended Cranstoun highlighting his long experience of working with councils across the country to provide their domestic violence services, including in London, in the Sussex and parts of the Midlands.
Cllr Soanne responded, “Domestic violence is a priority area for the Borough Council and in recognition of this and the increased demands for services in this area, the council funding for this contract has been significantly increased.
“The provision of support to victims of domestic violence is in place as needed as part of the commissioned service.
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“Prior to launching the Domestic Violence branch of the Cranstoun service, Cranstoun committed for 10 years to developing its current model of domestic violence.
“To do this consistently, they have worked with Respect, Safelives, the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, Women’s Aid to name a few, all of whom are key players in the area of violence. domesticated.
“[They have] reach across the country and demonstrate their ability to provide a comprehensive domestic violence service to the residents of Wokingham.
He added: “No one will be left without support and shelter in our borough if they need it.”
Cranstoun was appointed as a shelter service provider on July 1.
Cllr Grahame Howe (Conservative Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe) pointed out that 1,479 women and 568 men reported incidents of domestic violence to Thames Valley Police in the Wokingham area in the year ending 2021.
Last month, the council’s conservative group angered activists by failing to seek accreditation for the White Ribbon Campaign, which works with boys and men to end violence against women and girls.
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However, council chief John Halsall (Tory Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe) argued his administration had developed a ‘white ribbon plus approach’, which recognizes that one in three victims of domestic violence is a victim of domestic violence. man.
Cllr Kerr called cllr Halsall’s reference to the empty rhetoric of the “White Ribbon Plus approach”.
She said: “The White Ribbon charity aims to engage with men and boys to end violence against women and girls by addressing and addressing the deep-rooted misogyny within the society that gives perpetrators a platform on which to abuse, degrade or humiliate, attack, rape and murder women.
“It also assumes that all violence against women is domestic violence. Sarah Everard was murdered by a stranger. It’s about feeling safe for women to go about their day-to-day business, doing whatever a man feels comfortable doing.
She added that seeking White Ribbon accreditation would have helped identify knowledge gaps in domestic violence strategy to further assist victims.
But conservatives argued that the accreditation request would “unnecessarily duplicate” the work the council is already doing in its equality strategy, domestic violence strategy and staff training.