Comet Investigation: Stevenage Against Domestic Abuse – How a groundbreaking service in North Herts is helping women and men survive a modern epidemic

The domestic abuse conference at SBC's headquarters last Thursday.

The domestic abuse conference at SBC's headquarters last Thursday. - Credit: Archant

Domestic abuse – when people abuse their partners, psychologically, physically or emotionally – could be the biggest crime tearing families in Britain apart today.

Two women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner, while one in four women – and one in six men – will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

In Hertfordshire there were 21,300 female victims of domestic abuse in 2015, and 10,100 men were affected by it.

It’s a problem that can affect people from all walks of life and of all ages, genders and ethnic groups.

A truly groundbreaking service is being provided by Stevenage Borough Council and associated partners, and council leader Sharon Taylor has revealed her own family’s tragic tale as victims of domestic abuse.

Opening a major conference outlining the work of Stevenage Against Domestic Abuse Forum, Mrs Taylor told a group of assembled guests, stakeholders and victims: “I’m very proud of the work we have done so far here in Stevenage but there’s still so much more to do.

“We first started this service because we had two wards with the highest levels of domestic abuse in the UK.

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“It’s getting very difficult to keep doing work like this which isn’t a statutory requirement with the government cutting our budget by 80 per cent by 2020, but I give you my pledge that this will always be a priority for us here.

“Domestic abuse takes so much of people’s lives and that’s why we want to provide this kind of support.”

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