Revealed: The £47million cost to South Tyneside of a '˜hidden crime'

A campaign against domestic abuse is to be stepped up as recent figures reveal the impact of the hidden crime costs South Tyneside £47million each year.

Three key areas have been identified by a working group set up in a bid to tackle the issue, which can leave people living in fear of their lives.

A report has found police receive an average 4,000 calls each year from victims who have suffered at the hands of an abusive partner or relative, either physically or emotionally.

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However, this is believed to be just the tip of the iceberg, as some people seek the help of agencies directly or other support networks.

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The Domestic Abuse Working Group was made up of representatives from the council social care teams, police, Impact Family Services Clinical Commissioning Group, Place for People – Refuge, Barnados, South Tyneside Homes, as well as from local schools and service commissioners.

The estimated £47million covers the cost of statutory and third sector resources, which include the financial impact on health services, social services, housing & refuges, criminal justice system and legal costs, as well as costs to employers such as missing work days and children missing school.

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A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “Domestic abuse is often seen as a hidden crime, as it happens behind closed doors.

“It is estimated that one in four women and one in six men are affected, and the impact on families, particularly children, can be devastating.

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“No one should be subjected to violence or abuse of any kind, but particularly at the hands of those they trust.

“We are committed to doing all we can to support victims to break the cycle.

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“We take a multi-agency approach, working closely with partners including the police, safeguarding teams and local support groups to tackle the issue.

“Every year, we support the international White Ribbon campaign, helping to raise awareness of domestic violence and promoting the support available for victims in South Tyneside.

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“We also bring agencies together at our annual domestic abuse conference to share best practice and discuss how we can work together more effectively, and more recently set up a Domestic Abuse Working Group with a focus on prevention, protection and providing support to victims.”

As part of the drive forward to improve the support for victims, the working group aims to focus on prevention through public awareness and targeted campaigning, protecting by taking a multi-agency approach to safeguarding and protecting individuals, families and children and providing targeted services to support victims, children and perpatrators.