Domestic abuse referrals to Falkirk charity increase

A charity which deals with domestic abuse has seen a rise in referrals from the Falkirk area.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 3:00 pm

Committed to Ending Abuse (CEA) – formerly known as Women’s Aid – received more than 600 cases in the Falkirk area last year – an increase of 15 per cent.

A report to Falkirk Council’s scrutiny committee highlighted the increase but said it was hard to say if rise was due to the service being better known or because there had been an increase in domestic abuse.

Members heard that over the past three years the service has had its funding cut by nearly £70,000 – slashing the council’s contribution by 28 per cent.

Bonnybridge councillor Niall Coleman asked how the reduced funding was impacting the service and he was told they were managing by changing things such as using more group work when offering support.

The service also receives Big Lottery money, as well as from the Scottish Government, although they were always looking for more cash to support their work as they are “on a very tight line” when it came to funding.

The meeting also heard that the service was undergoing a review at the end of which the service will go out to procurement.

Mr Coleman asked : “This review has been ongoing for two years now – why is it taking so long?”

Housing support officer Joanna Stewart replied: “We need to get it absolutely right.

“We need to make sure it meets the needs of the clients and that has taken time because they are going through trauma.

“These people are very vulnerable and they need a service that’s reliable and long-term.”

Scrutiny committee members heard that Falkirk Council has been working with the Health and Social Care Partnership to complete the review.

Another reason for the delay was the fact that the law relating to domestic abuse in Scotland changed last year.

Now, controlling behaviour is recognised as a form of abuse and Falkirk Council staff are being trained to recognise and understand the problem.

Councillor Allyson Black said: “The police have previously reported a slight drop in domestic abuse rates so I think that means more people are coming to you and getting the help that they need, which is very welcome.”

CEA is an inclusive service committed to ending all forms of abuse, providing support and advice to anyone regardless of age, beliefs, ethnicity, faith, gender, sexual orientation and race.

Visit Oaklea House, 21 Wellside Place, Falkirk, FK1 5RL or call 01324 635 661.