Posted: 30.07.20 at 16:16 by The Editor
Launching a new monthly domestic abuse clinic in Congleton - to prevent affected families reaching 'high-risk status' - will come under the spotlight tonight (Thurs).
Between 200 and 250 families a year in the town are affected by domestic abuse or domestic violence, according to a report by Cllr Kay Wesley being considered by Congleton Town Council's virtual community and environment committee meeting.
And, since coronavirus lockdown day on 23 March, there have been 140 police reports of domestic abuse in Congleton.
Last September, Saskia Lightburn-Ritchie chief executive of MyCWA (Cheshire Without Abuse) gave a presentation to the committee about establishing a weekly Domestic Abuse Hub in Congleton.
The organisation already runs hubs in Crewe and Macclesfield including survivor groups, support services and advice clinics.
At the time the committee supported the scheme and agreed a hub was needed in Congleton at least one afternoon and evening a week, but the £29,000 funding for the staff cost for the service was 'not yet available'.
Cllr Wesley's report proposes Congleton Town Council works in partnership with Cheshire Constabulary and MyCWA to deliver a monthly domestic abuse clinic.
She says: "Cheshire Police, led by DI Claire Jesson, together with Cheshire East Council and MyCWA, collaborate to deliver one of most effective and co-ordinated domestic abuse services in the country, dealing with crimes reported as well as implementing preventative measures.
"This proposal is to bring more of these services to Congleton to benefit the 200 to 250 families a year affected by domestic abuse or domestic violence in the town.
"Cheshire Police and MyCWA will send domestic abuse specialist staff to run a clinic once a month in Congleton.
"This would provide local people who are concerned about their family situation the opportunity to have a private talk with trained professionals without threat of arrest.
"It is a chance to get advice on rights, the law, the options to reduce harm, change behaviour, escape and so on.
"Experience has shown that these clinics can help to prevent escalation to more serious abuse and violence.
"The objective is that the clinic can help meet the needs for local families affected before they reach a high-risk status.
"Although this isn't yet the full Domestic Abuse Service Hub that the town council wished to see, it is a big step in the right direction and it may be extended in future to deliver more services for families here in Congleton."
The clinic would be held at The Old Saw Mill starting in September, with the £40 room hire paid from the town council's crime prevention budget, and reviewed in six months.