Crime Commissioner plans better refuges for domestic violence victims

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A REVAMP of refuge services for domestic abuse victims is being considered by Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner in a bid to better support survivors.

As reported, Simon Hayes has launched a campaign to improve victim care, encourage more victims to come forward and target more offenders in a bid to drive down related crimes.

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Police and Crime Commisssioner, Simon Hayes. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (13750-055)

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Police and Crime Commisssioner, Simon Hayes. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (13750-055)

It comes after figures revealed an average 79 domestic violence and abuse incidents were reported to Hampshire police every day last year - 28,944 in total.

Now Mr Hayes is to look at how refuges are provided across the county in a bid to improve services for victims.

He said: ‘I think we can do better. If we are encouraging people to come forward we are going to increase the numbers of people who perhaps want to go to a refuge.

‘I’m just asking at the moment if we have sufficient provision, is it in the right place and does it offer the right service? I suspect the answer to all of those questions is no.’

Mr Hayes plans to look at locations of refuges and ask practitioners for their views on whether services could be better provided.

He said: ‘It’s a question we will be asking practitioners in the field - how do they feel about the service delivery of refuges?

‘I think there is a lot of duplication in management and in maintenance and support. We can look at that to see if we can deliver a more effective model.

‘There is no necessity to have a geographically-based refuge these days.

‘Often if somebody is abused in Portsmouth, for example, they don’t want to go to a refuge in Portsmouth, they want to go away from the abusive environment. They could perhaps go to Basingstoke, for example.

‘The important thing is they are in the right place to offer the right services to the victims and their children. We are talking about education and issues around young people who go to a refuge with a mother, for example, who may be forced to move on because there isn’t provision for them to stay there.

He added: ‘If we can offer a better service for he money that’s wise at the moment. A number of the refuges are difficult to maintain buildings, they are by their nature anonymous so they are sometimes difficult to get to. We need to perhaps look at public transport, accessibility and that sort of thing.’

Mr Hayes is to hold a conference bringing together organisations working with victims and offenders at the Eastpoint Centre in Southampton on October 9.