23 Mar 2015

Leeds joins forces to tackle domestic violence

Organisations across the city are
joining forces tomorrow to raise awareness of and discuss how to tackle
domestic violence in Leeds.

Over 130 delegates will be attending
the Leeds Domestic Violence and Abuse Conference which has been organised by
Leeds City Council and will take place tomorrow, Wednesday 25 March at the
Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

of the media are welcome to come along to the domestic violence and abuse conference,
where interviews will be available. The conference is taking place in the Lewis
Jones suite at Headingley Carnegie Stadium between 9am and 12.15 pm - (Main speeches are 9.30 - 10.25 with a break at 10.25).

The aim of the conference is to discuss
the impact of domestic violence and abuse in Leeds, and how employers can help
to tackle an issue that impacts on health, wellbeing, absence and turnover in
the workplace.
Delegates will
take part in workshops which will provide the opportunity for businesses and
organisations to discuss how they can help and support their employees.

The deputy leader of Leeds City
Council Councillor Judith Blake and Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member
for safer stronger communities will be jointly hosting the conference, with
support from Gary Hetherington, chief executive of Leeds Rugby Ltd.

Speakers include:

  • Kate
    Chief Executive, Leeds Women’s Aid

  • MarkBurns-Williamson
    Police and
    Crime, Commissioner, West Yorkshire

  • Tom
    Riordan -
    Executive, Leeds City Council

  • Michael
    Abeceder will be highlighting the CIPD guidance on managing and supporting
    employees experiencing domestic abuse

Judith Blake, deputy leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“Tackling domestic
violence and abuse is one of the greatest challenges facing the city, which is
why we have made it a top priority to address. The physical and emotional damage
to victims can last a life time we estimate that one in four women will experience
domestic violence and abuse at some time in their lives. We also know that many
victims still keep silent and a major part of our work is how to raise
awareness and encourage more victims to come forward for help and support.

“Children are often the hidden victims of domestic
violence – of the 14,000 cases of domestic violence reported to police last
year, there were children present in 35% of incidents. It is often a
contributing factor when children are taken in to care and can have long term
effects on a child’s health and education prospects.”

In 90% of cases of domestic violence
nationally, the child/children are in the same or next room (Home Office Crime
Reduction, 2004). Nationally, 750,000 children a year witness
domestic violence (Dept of Health).

In Leeds in 2013-14 there were

- 14,000
domestic abuse incidents recorded by police (4,489 repeats), 35% had children

MARAC Cases** (risk of serious injury or death) of which 158 repeats.

domestic violence homicides.

Mark Dobson, executive member for safer, stronger and cleaner communities,

“Domestic violence and abuse
is a serious social and criminal issue.
It impacts on the lives and wellbeing of thousands of citizens of Leeds
every day.

“Regrettably we know that
there are many reasons why people don’t report they are being abused to the
police or indeed to other services, which means the figures we know about do
not represent the full story. People
often fear repercussions, shame or embarrassment or because it’s a way of
managing the abuse, or sometimes it’s because of a lack of confidence in the
ability of services to be able to respond.

“Our vision is that Leeds is a city that has a zero
tolerance approach to domestic violence and abuse, where individuals, families
and communities are supported to reach their potential and lead safer,
healthier and happier lives.”

In Leeds work is already progressing
to achieve these objectives, including the launch of a new multi-agency hub
that will provide early intervention for all victims of domestic violence and
abuse. The council is continuing to
deliver programmes of work to challenge the behaviour of those who are abusive
in relationships in partnership with colleagues across the public sector. This week also sees the launch of a new
website that will provide easy access to information and services for victims,
families, communities and agencies.

As part of its commitment to
addressing domestic violence and abuse and to supporting its staff, Leeds City
Council is soon to launch its own domestic violence policy and guidance. This policy aims to ensure that all staff and
managers are aware of the impact that domestic violence and abuse can have on
an individual, a family or wider society, and that all staff know where to seek
help and support if they or a colleague are affected by domestic violence or
abuse. By raising awareness amongst
staff about the support available, it is hoped that this policy may lead to an
increase in the number of victims reporting to the police.


media enquiries, please contact:

Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team