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Vows made for appropriate funding of domestic abuse support services

PUBLISHED: 14:45 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:46 27 March 2019

Suffolk County Council has agreed to back domestic abuse support services. Picture posed by model Picture: PA WIRE

Suffolk County Council has agreed to back domestic abuse support services. Picture posed by model Picture: PA WIRE

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Calls for a Suffolk council to ensure domestic abuse services are appropriately funded have been given unanimous backing.

Helen Armitage said despite Suffolk's 'sleepy' nature domestic abuse was an issue. Picture: SU ANDERSONHelen Armitage said despite Suffolk's 'sleepy' nature domestic abuse was an issue. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Labour councillor Helen Armitage presented a motion to Suffolk County Council’s full council meeting on Thursday, calling for organisations that support victims to be properly funded and promoted.

Figures heard during the meeting revealed around 11,000 domestic abuse crimes were reported in Suffolk last year – the equivalent of 32 per day.

The motion, which said appropriate funding and promotion for services was needed, was unanimously approved.

Councillor Helen Armitage, Labour group spokeswoman for health, said: “It seems incredible that sleepy, safe Suffolk should have such levels of abuse going on behind closed doors.”

Councillor Joanna Spicer said the county council needed to be brave in holding partner organisations to account. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCouncillor Joanna Spicer said the county council needed to be brave in holding partner organisations to account. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Speaking afterwards, she added: “I am delighted that the council unanimously supported my motion.

“In this very difficult financial climate for local government, as continued austerity cuts services across the board, it is good to know that the council have agreed to continue to support these vital services.

“We know that prevention is always cheaper than cure and so it is refreshing to hear that the Freedom Programme and other schemes will continue to be provided by this council.

“It is vital that we continue to work together with other agencies for the long-term benefit of those at risk, including children, from domestic abuse.”

The Freedom Programme is a course held across the county which highlights the different forms abuse can take, including physical, emotional and mental, signpost how to spot abusers and support services available.

Domestic abuse figures presented to the Suffolk Police and Crime Panel in December showed there were around 2,000 more crimes reported in 12 months than had been the case over the three years before – a 32% increase.

Conservative councillor Joanna Spicer, chairman of the West Suffolk Community Safety Partnership said more victims coming forward was good, as it showed they had confidence in the support systems in Suffolk.

She added: “I do think it’s so relevant that all of you in your day jobs realise that every part of the public sector and voluntary sector has a role that can be played, whether it’s increasing awareness – particularly among frontline staff, GP receptionists and school dinner ladies – right the way through working with the police to bring perpetrators to justice, about rehabilitation programmes.

“We must be brave holding our partners to account, whether that’s the police, the NHS, housing associations, probation, we all need to do our bit. “Hopefully people in Suffolk, whether they are women families children and men, will therefore be safer.”

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