To outline the implications for Leeds of the Domestic Abuse Bill 2021 and to further update members on the impact of the recent Covid-19 pandemic on domestic violence and abuse.
The report of the Director of Communities, Housing and Environment provided an update on the implementation of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and the progress made by the council in delivering against the statutory duties. As well as an update on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on domestic violence and abuse and the council’s response over the last year.
The following were in attendance for this item:
o Councillor Coupar, Executive Member for Resources
o Councillor Venner, Executive Member for Adult and Children’s Social Care
o Councillor Marshall-Katung Scrutiny Board Chair (Adults, Health and Active Lifestyles)
o James Rogers, Director Communities, Housing & Environment
o Paul Money, Chief Officer Safer Stronger Communities
o Jude Roberts, DV Service Manager
o Nik Peasgood, Leeds Women’s Aid
The Scrutiny Board were provided with a PowerPoint presentation, covering the following matters:
· An overview of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, and the key themes and focuses in relation to the Act;
· The steps the Local Authority have taken in terms of establishing a Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board (DALPB), supported by the Domestic Abuse Voice and Accountability Forum (DAVAF). As well as the Strategic Migration Board;
· The allocation of funding for 2021/22 to enhance current accommodation-based provision and ensuring the needs of children are met;
· The work streams put in place by the Local Authority when responding to the pandemic;
· Key statistics regarding Domestic Incident volume information, and suggested reasons behind under-reporting.
Members discussions focussed on the following matters:
· Frequency of MARAC meetings;
· Availability of adequate and suitable accommodation for families under immediate threat;
· How local DV issues are linked into the strategy on a city-wide level;
· The scope to increase preventative work, such as the delivery of awareness sessions;
· Supporting ‘others’ who classify as a victim of domestic abuse, such as neighbours with children;
· Whether GP surgeries are continuing to encourage routine enquiries.
Responding to questions from Members, the Board was provided with the following information:
· MARAC meetings are held Monday – Friday and any cases received over the weekend, will be picked up the following Monday;
· Whilst the strategy is intended to be delivered in a phased approach, officers are keen to identify local perspectives when delivering services across communities;
· Routine enquiries have been rolled out to all GP surgeries and confirmation of surgeries not taking part should be fed back to the team;
· A breakdown on the number of reported police cases can be provided on a ward basis.
The DV Service Manager experienced connectivity issues during the meeting and was unable to answer some queries relating to increased preventative work and extending support to neighbours. It was confirmed that a response to this, will be provided to Cllr Smith following the meeting.
The Executive Member for Adults and Children’s Social Care highlighted the importance of focusing the needs of children and recognising their health and agreed DV should be a collective piece of work moving forward.
a) To note the contents of the report and comments raised during consideration of this item;
b) To note the progress made by the council and its response over the last year in delivering against the statutory duties of the implementation of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.