The domestic abuse annual report highlights an increasing demand on services as more victims are gaining the confidence to come forward and seek help.
It also praises the work of professionals across the health, police, fire, voluntary, local authority and charitable sectors in dealing with an increasing workload in spite of some reductions in resources.
The charity Ashford Domestic Abuse Forum (ADAF) leads services across the borough and created the One Stop Shop; a weekly drop in centre where victims can receive advice and support.
Ashford has one of the busiest One Stop Shops in the county but can boast a high level of staff attendance and good reputation for partnership working, thanks in part to the appointment of a full time Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator.
At a time when resources are reduced and there are added pressures and caseloads, it is important that victims of domestic abuse can get the help they need. This continued partnership working, led by the ADAF is a source of pride in the borough and agencies from across the county have come to observe the running of Ashford’s One Stop Shop.
The council also helped to fund an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) to act as a primary contact to address the safety of those affected by abuse, acting as their advocate to explore their options and provide support.
Receiving around 50 to 60 referrals each quarter, latest figures show the Ashford IDVA helped 91% of those referred resulting in a crucial 94% reduction of risk to their safety.
In spite of the success of the programme there is still a long way to go as the council and ADAF work towards a combined bid to fund services to reach those in rural communities.
Cllr Brad Bradford, portfolio Holder for Highways, Wellbeing and Safety said “In Ashford we are fortunate to have many excellent services committed to preventing domestic abuse and I’d like to thank all those involved in this important work.
“As a council we will continue to play our part in supporting the work of the Ashford Domestic Abuse Forum by making the crucial post of Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator permanent and championing their work.
“In doing so we can ensure that victims are supported to build a better future for themselves and their families, which could mean the difference between life and death.”
The Ashford One Stop Shop is open every Tuesday between 9.30-12.30 at The Willows Centre, Brookfield Road.
For information on other services available and other One Stop Shop’s across the county go to www.domesticabuseservices.org.uk
Ashford Borough Council 20 February 2017