Telford and Wrekin to adopt new approach to help those who suffer domestic abuse

Telford & Wrekin Council and partners are underlining their commitment to prevent and tackle all forms of domestic abuse with the launch of a new strategy.

The Domestic Abuse Strategy 2023-25 was approved at the council's cabinet meeting today and a new integrated domestic abuse service was commissioned.

Through the newly formed Domestic Abuse Forum, victims and survivors of domestic abuse have shaped the strategy and the commissioning process.

The strategy also commits to routinely taking on board the voices and expertise of people who have experienced domestic abuse through the forum.

The newly commissioned domestic abuse service will better integrate multiple support services for victims and children into one service.

Cranstoun has been commissioned to provide the new service for the next three years in partnership with West Mercia's Women's Aid as a specialist domestic abuse provider.

The new service will be operational in June 2023, providing specialist support for victims, support for children affected by domestic abuse, safe accommodation, and a perpetrator behaviour change programme.

Cabinet also agreed for Telford and Wrekin Council to be the first in the UK to sign the Child to Parent Abuse Covenant, which has been developed by a social enterprise known as Parental Education Growth Support.

Recognising Child to Parent Abuse has been incorporated into the new domestic abuse strategy to prevent professionals from misappropriating parenting fault and ensuring families get the support they need. 

Cllr Kelly Middleton (Lab), Cabinet Member for Leisure, Public Health and Wellbeing, Equalities and Partnerships, said: 

"Domestic abuse is an unacceptable and serious issue for many of our residents which wrecks lives and devastates families. 

"We estimate that around 25,500 adults in Telford & Wrekin have experienced domestic abuse at some point in their lives since turning 16, and two-thirds of them are women.

"While women are significantly and disproportionately affected by domestic abuse, we recognise that anyone, male or female, in any relationship, can be a victim.

"People who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ+) are significantly affected by domestic abuse as well.

"Providing a domestic abuse service that is open to all and covers all types of domestic abuse is at the centre of our new strategy.

"It's also why I am proud to say that we are the first council to sign the Child to Parent Abuse Covenant. 

"Making this pledge acknowledges that this kind of abuse happens and is a step towards making it easier for parents to seek help - as often parents in this situation can feel isolated and blamed."

Dean Harris, Chair of the Domestic Abuse Forum and the Vice-Chair Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board, said:

"I am pleased to say that victims and survivors of domestic abuse have played a vital role in shaping this new domestic abuse strategy.

"As a result, Telford and Wrekin will have a domestic abuse service that goes beyond statutory duties set out in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

"Independent charity SafeLives and The Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s officer, have commended the authentic voice of local domestic abuse survivors presented through the forum.

“Having this level of input included is going to make a huge difference in working together to end domestic abuse in our communities and ensuring that everyone who is affected can access the help and services they need.

Meg Jones, Director at Cranstoun, said: 

“We are committed to supporting anyone suffering domestic abuse and empowering them to get their lives back on track. 

“We will be working tirelessly with Telford & Wrekin Council and partners to deliver on the new domestic abuse strategy to ensure that people across the borough can access help and support.

“Nobody should have to suffer domestic abuse and it is crucial that the right support services are available to people, where they need them and when they need them.

“We will also be working with perpetrators of domestic abuse to address harmful, abusive and coercive behaviours, helping us to protect people from becoming victims of domestic abuse.”

Michelle John, Founding Director of Parental Education Growth Support (PEGS), said: 

"We are really pleased to see Child to Parent Abuse included within Telford & Wrekin's strategies going forward. 

“We have worked in conjunction with the council to increase understanding around CPA for some time now, so it's fantastic to see them signing the Child to Parent Abuse Covenant as a signal of their commitment going forward.

"Signing the covenant means the council has committed to supporting any of its employees who are experiencing Child to Parent Abuse - which is so important as we know more than 70% of parents are forced to leave work altogether or reduce their hours as a direct result of CPA. 

“We hope this will also inspire other councils to follow suit."