Councillors' concerns over Oswestry's domestic abuse levels

Reporter:

Emily Davies

Concerns have been raised over domestic abuse in Oswestry.

There were 826 incidents recorded in the town in 2016-17 – almost the same number as the whole of North Shropshire (858) and almost double the number for South Shropshire (420).

The figures in the Shropshire Community Safety Partnership’s draft domestic abuse strategy for 2018-2020 also revealed the number of recorded incidents rose in 2016-17.

Although this was expected – with a final figure predicted to be around 3,800 – the actual number was a staggering 4,316.

The report aims to improve services for victims and to explore ways to encourage offenders to seek assistance to change their behaviour.

But Councillor Duncan Kerr said more needs to be done to tackle domestic abuse.

He continued: “Domestic abuse is a very serious issue.

“According to the recent British Crime Survey, it affects one in four women and one in six men – that means more than 60,000 people in Shropshire.

“It results in the deaths of two women a week in the UK and, on average, it takes some 35 incidents before a victim makes a report.

“A government report revealed it costs the country more than £18 billion a year.

“Cases reported in West Mercia have doubled in the past four years.”

Cllr Kerr said he feels more needs to be done than is already listed in the strategy and called on the partnership to consider, among other objectives, domestic abuse among older people, best practice in rural areas, and utilising town and parish councils to support the partnership work.

He said: “The shortcomings of the report are so extensive, and the non-compliance with the national standards of expectations so great, that we urge the partnership to withdraw the document and as a matter of urgency provide a strategic and system-wide approach to this very important issue.”

When the issue was discussed by town councillors earlier this month, they requested a representative from the Shropshire CSP talk to them about the figures and the strategy.

In particular, Cllr Mike Isherwood raised concerns about how high the figures for Oswestry are in comparison to other areas, with Shrewsbury and Atcham seeing 1,673 recorded incidents in 2016-17 and Bridgnorth seeing 539 recorded incidents in the same period.

A public consultation on the draft strategy closed on Friday.

Email:

emily.davies@nwn.co.uk

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