Agenda item

Agenda item

Domestic Abuse

Report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods)


This report provides a summary of recent and current work to address Domestic Violence and Abuse, including implementation of the Domestic Violence and Abuse Strategy and the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.


The Committee received a report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods) which provided a summary of recent and current work to address Domestic Violence and Abuse, including the implementation of the Domestic Violence and Abuse Strategy and the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.


The main points and themes within the report included:


  • Background information;
  • The Domestic Abuse Act 2021- Safe Accommodation Duty and New Burdens Funding;
  • Domestic abuse and the wider Violence Against Women and Girls agenda (VAWG);
  • Conduct of Domestic Homicide Reviews; and
  • Future funding and sustainability.


Charlotte Cooke from the LGBT Foundation informed the Committee about her organisation’s work with the LGBT community, both specific services for survivors of domestic abuse and other services and support that they provided.  She outlined how her organisation supported victims of domestic abuse in a holistic way, looking at all their different needs, using the Foundation’s own services and referring them to other services, where appropriate.  She informed Members how the New Burdens funding was being used by her organisation to provide casework support to low to medium risk survivors of domestic abuse, including supporting them into a range of housing options and providing group-based peer support.  She outlined the increasing complexity of many of the referrals, such as mental health issues, substance misuse and issues with basic needs such as housing, employment and financial support.  She informed the Committee how they worked with partner organisations, such as housing associations, and worked across different local authority areas, as an organisation based on a community of identity, rather than a geographical community.


Priya Chopra from Saheli informed the Committee about the work of her organisation, which had previously predominantly supported south Asian women affected by domestic abuse but was increasingly working with a more diverse group of black, Asian and minoritised women.  She informed the Committee that this included refuge provision and about Saheli’s recent acquisition of dispersed accommodation for survivors of domestic abuse, which had increased their capacity to support women fleeing from domestic abuse.  She outlined how Saheli worked with women who did not speak English and who were far removed from the job market, including building their self-esteem.  She highlighted a range of work that the organisation was doing including group-based work to help women identify signs of abuse and work with Afghani women, women with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) and older women.  She welcomed that the New Burdens funding had enabled Saheli to provide greater support to children affected by domestic abuse and to support women with more complex needs, including mental health issues. 


Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:


  • To request a breakdown of statistics by protected characteristics;
  • Concern about whether the main domestic abuse service providers were able to meet the needs of minority groups;
  • What was the pathway for male victims of domestic abuse;
  • What was being done to reverse the trend of the perpetrator of domestic abuse remaining in the home, while the victim had to flee;
  • What work was being done with schools; and
  • To request that all acronyms in future reports be explained.


The Community Safety Lead informed Members that quarterly performance information was produced which provided a more detailed breakdown of the statistics and that this could be shared with Committee Members.  She acknowledged the challenges of and importance of ensuring that services were accessible to and appropriate for the diverse communities within Manchester.  In response to a Member’s question about self-identification and the acceptance of trans women in single sex services, Charlotte Cooke confirmed that access to the LGBT Foundation’s services was based on self-identification.  She reported that finding accessible refuge spaces for trans, non-binary and gender variant survivors of domestic abuse was a challenge and that work was taking place to issue guidance on this.  In response to a Member’s question, she reported that, while her organisation provided a range of services, including talking therapies, some individuals with more complex needs required support from elsewhere; however, she advised that mainstream organisations tended to immediately refer any LGBT individual seeking support to the LGBT Foundation without fully considering what services they provided, while there were also concerns about the cultural competency of mainstream therapeutic services and fears from LGBT individuals accessing mainstream services about having to come out, and about whether the people they were being supported by would be able to understand their experiences.


The Community Safety Policy and Performance Manager reported that the needs assessment carried out last year had identified the need to improve support for male victims of domestic abuse and that the pathway to accessing support was not obvious for male victims who were not from LGBT communities.  He advised that work was taking place at a Greater Manchester level to address this, which Manchester had contributed to, and that Manchester was also looking at what it could do to improve this, rather than just waiting for the outcome of the Greater Manchester work.


The New Burdens Project Manager highlighted that 35 domestic abuse survivors had used the Sanctuary Scheme to safely remain in their own home and advised that there should be a push to increase the use of this scheme so that more survivors and their children remained in the family home, as well as perpetrators being dealt with appropriately.  The Community Safety Policy and Performance Manager highlighted the role of Domestic Violence Protection Notices in enabling victims to stay in their own homes and advised that, while these had been under-used previously, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) were committed to improving this.  In response to a Member’s question about the percentage of domestic abuse survivors who, despite accessing the Sanctuary Scheme, ended up having to leave their home, the Community Safety Lead advised that she would look into this and respond to the Member.


In response to a Member’s question, the New Burdens Project Manager informed Members that voluntary organisations had been attached to the hotels where refugees were being accommodated and that a small grant had been given to Safety4Sisters to work with people with NRPF but that the government had not clarified the position on providing funding to support victims of domestic abuse with NRPF. 


The New Burdens Project Manager outlined a programme that Manchester Women’s Aid had been running in schools called “Ten Dialogues” which looked at what a healthy relationship looked like and how to treat people with respect.  She reported that the initial funding for this had ended but Manchester Women’s Aid were trying to secure further funding to continue this.  The Community Safety Policy and Performance Manager advised that there might be funding to do some further work with young people linked to the VAWG agenda.  In response to a question from the Chair about the Respect Young People’s Programme, he advised that this programme focused on children and young people who were abusive to their parents and that the programme also addressed the impact of the abuse on siblings.  In response to a question from the Chair about Looked After Children and peer on peer abuse in children’s homes, the New Burdens Project Manager advised that her team would look into this.




1.            To request that the most recent quarterly report which provides a further breakdown of the statistics be circulated to the Committee Members.


2.            To ask for the percentage of domestic abuse survivors who, despite accessing the Sanctuary Scheme, end up having to leave their home.


3.            To note the key issues which have arisen from the discussion, including proportionality and intersectionality and the relationship between mainstream and specialist support services, in particular, people from minority communities being referred to specialist organisations for their community, regardless of whether that was the most appropriate organisation for the type of support they required, and to note that the Committee may want to consider these issues further at a future meeting.

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