Thursday, 6 December 2007

Pioneering scheme cuts domestic violence

Full Story:
A pioneering scheme to tackle domestic violence, which affects 1.5 million women each year in the UK, has cut the incidence of assault and injury to women by two thirds, according to the first independent evaluation of its impact. The £1m scheme, half funded by the Home Office, uses special case workers to co-ordinate services aimed at keeping the victim safe in her own home and has been so successful that it is being rolled out across the country. Every year more than 100 women die at the hands of their partners, and 150,000 suffer physical or sexual assault, psychiatric harm, or are driven to suicide. More than 600,000 report incidents of abuse to the police, but thousands more suffer in silence. The new approach involves identifying women at highest risk, using a 20-point checklist of risk factors, and appointing independent domestic violence advocates (IDVAs) to support them. The advocates co-ordinate monthly meetings of local services to protect the victims and help them to rebuild their lives. Results from the first eight pilot areas to be evaluated showed that after six months, in at least 90 out of 140 cases (65 per cent), the violence had stopped. The monthly Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (Maracs) have dealt with 8,000 cases this year, which is set to double to 15,000 next year. Research shows that 70 per cent of women who have been through the Marac process were still safe six months later. The scheme is run by a charity, Co-ordinated Action on Domestic Abuse (CAADA), set up by Diana Barran, a former hedge fund manager, in 2004. Ms Barran has the enthusiastic backing of Baroness Scotland, the Attorney General, and was last week awarded a Beacon prize, one of Britain's top awards for philanthropy. She said: "The research shows that the model works. When we talk about violence in this context we are talking about a knife being held to a victim's throat. There is nothing pink and fluffy about this

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