Seven cases of domestic abuse in homes with children every day in South Tyneside, figures show
The Northumbria Police figures were presented to councillors this week as part of an update on the borough council’s safeguarding work during the coronavirus crisis.
Between June 22 and August 17 2020, hundreds of ‘child concern notifications’ were reported in South Tyneside – with around half of cases every week linked to domestic abuse.
“Nationally we have seen reports about the numbers of domestic abuse rising during the lockdown period and in South Tyneside we have seen that happen as well,” said John Lambert, Children and Families Social Care Service Manager.
“In a comparison, in October last year we looked at the number of, on average, daily reports relating to domestic abuse where children live in the family and we noted that there were five incidents a day.
“During this period that I have reported on, you will note that has risen to seven incidents a day.
“We have to remember that in relation to domestic abuse, that could mean that children were actually present or in the house when that happened.
“We [also] have to remember that just because you might not be in the house that is not going to mean that you don’t know that domestic abuse is happening and you’re feeling the impact of that.”
Mr Lambert was speaking at meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Children and Adults Safeguarding Panel on Wednesday, September 16, which was held via videolink and broadcast live on YouTube as part of social-distancing measures by the council
Looking forward, council bosses hope to tackle the issue by establishing a new domestic abuse service.
The service would work with survivors of abuse and their children, providing better access to services for youngsters and extra support to help people break away from coercive relationships.
It will also aim to work with perpetrators to “improve access to tenacious services,” a report to councillors states.
Council chiefs are currently exploring new funding streams from the Home Office via the office of Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
This includes perpetrator-focused programmes to help challenge behaviour and ‘break the cycle’ of abuse.
Cllr Anne Hetherington welcomed officers being “proactive” in applying for extra funding which, she added, was “really needed in South Tyneside.”
She went on to say: “I would also like to thank the team in general for all of the messages that went out across social media about the opportunities that were there for anyone who was concerned about a child or an adult in any kind of situation where there may have been any kind of abuse.
“I think the way that it was presented made it easy for people to access that information.
“It’s not whistleblowing, I think it’s the responsibility of all of us to make sure that vulnerable people are protected.”