A new drive to tackle the scourge of domestic abuse in Milton Keynes will appreciate that it is not simply a male-female issue.
That’s the view of Councillor Hannah O’Neill, the cabinet member for health and wellbeing, who has formally approved the search for a new partner to develop support for victims.
A £524,994 contract that the council has with MK ACT ends on August 31 this year. The authority will be seeking a provider for the new service that will run for the next five years.
“I think this is a really exciting move,” said Cllr O’Neill at a delegated decisions meeting on Tuesday (Feb 26). “It is recognising that there is no strategic lead, with responsibilities shared around, and nobody knows who is leading on it.
“We will be able to have a lead organisation. It will be very different, and has never been done this way before. It will give us the opportunity to pool lots of resources as well as changing the way we do things around domestic abuse.
“We will be moving away from the traditional male-female view to appreciate that domestic abuse also affects people in same-sex relationships and with disabilities.
“One in four women will experience some kind of domestic abuse in their lives but for disabled women that figure is one in every two.”
The council has carried out a Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment, which showed that in Milton Keynes there were 7,784 domestic crimes and incidents in the 12 months between May 2017 and April 2018.
But that some 12,300 people will have experienced domestic abuse in the past year at an annual cost to the economy of £63.8 million.
The assessment said that the vast majority of victims are women, with the young, those with a long term illness or disability, those who are bisexual, with mixed/multiple ethnicities, or living in a household with an income less than £10,000 being more likely to experience abuse.
A report to Cllr O’Neill said that domestic abuse is projected to increase by 17 per cent up to 2026 as the city grows and if nothing is done to prevent it.