Domestic violence affects an estimated 2.1 million individuals in the UK each year, with 1.4 million women (8.5% of the population) and 700,000 males (4.5% of the population) as reported by Dorset’s Domestic Abuse Strategy. Hundreds of people were drove into homelessness due to domestic abuse during the pandemic across Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole, as stated in estimates. Domestic abuse groups have called for greater funding to support survivors, citing an increase in such cases throughout the country as "shocking".
According to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, BCP Council discovered 162 households had become homeless in the year to March, while 42 needed assistances to avoid losing their homes due to domestic abuse. That means a total of 204 families needed a place to stay caused by domestic abuse.
In 2020-21, authorities throughout England received 31,180 requests for assistance from households who had lost their residence or were faced with homelessness because of domestic abuse, up 17% over the previous year; almost half of those figures were homes with children. The portfolio holder for community safety of BCP, Councillor May Haines said to the Daily Echo: “Our aspiration is that no resident living within or visiting Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole should live in fear of, or experience domestic abuse. To achieve this aim, we are a key partner within the BCP Community Safety Partnership, which includes police, fire & rescue, health, and care sectors and have worked together to develop a dedicated Domestic Abuse Strategy.”
A three-year plan has been put forward which sets out the four priority areas which are: prevent, protect, pursue, and prepare, and is committed to tackling the harm caused by domestic abuse. The BCP council has commissioned a dedicated wide outreach service for domestic abuse, and the independent service operated by BCHA assists clients by providing practical and emotional support, as well as safety planning advice, which provides clients with information on a variety of issues aimed at keeping them safe. The BCP BCHA Domestic Abuse Service offers a 24-hour helpline 01202 710777.
Other national organisations which help with domestic violence; National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) 0800 970 2070. For more information and helplines for victims and abusers who want to stop go to www.bournemouth.gov.uk.