Headlines: November 29th, 2007

Local authorities have defended their role in providing services to tackle domestic violence after calls from the new Equality and Human Rights Commission for a huge increase in help for victims. The Local Government Association called, though, for specialist courts to tackle the offences.

Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Commission said there was a burgeoning crisis of domestic violence against women that needed to be addressed. The Commission found three million women a year were assualted by husbands, boyfriends or partners.

Responding to the Commission’s calls for more and better support for the women involved, Ann Lucas, the domestic violence spokesperson at the LGA, said councils took their role in reducing domestic violence seriously and were leading the way in putting an end to it. “Everybody has an important part to play if councils, the police, health services and central government are to eradicate the most cowardly of crimes,” Councillor Lucas said.

“Many local authorities have already set up innovative schemes to help protect the victims of domestic abuse from their partners ranging from panic rooms and mobile phones, to hotlines and emergency accommodation services,” she added.

She accepted that more needed to be done and said one way to ensure a consistent and compassionate approach to the issue would be to roll out specialist domestic violence courts across the country.