Seven deaths linked to domestic violence in Southend over past 10 years

Seven people in Southend have died because of domestic abuse in the last ten years it has been revealed.

Presenting a revitalised strategy for dealing with domestic violence in the city to cabinet, James Moyies, councillor responsible for public health, adult social care and constitutional affairs said there was still a long way to go with dealing with the problem.

Speaking at the meeting on Monday, he said: “It’s surprising the amount of domestic abuse that goes on in our city.

“It is above our equivalent cohorts of other councils. There has been seven deaths in the last ten years through domestic abuse.

“There is a lot of work to be done in this area. The officers have put together a good report that hopefully we can deliver to try to make a change and to support people who are living in these intolerable situations.”

The report follows a survey of families in the city.

It said: “Based on national prevalence rates applied to the population of Southend, we can estimate that there are 146,412 individuals aged 16 or over in Southend of which we can estimate around 25,500 will have experienced domestic abuse over their lifetime.

“On an annual basis, this equates to 7,690 individuals likely to have experienced domestic abuse. Southend in particular sees high levels of domestic abuse, in comparison to the local neighbouring areas as well as comparable areas.”

The report adds: “There is an underutilisation of preventative measures, such as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, which can help to enable victims to continue engaging with the criminal justice system.

“A more successful engagement of victims with Essex Police could help to reduce repeat victimisation, which Southend sees very high levels of.”

Responding to the report at the meeting, Daniel Nelson, councillor responsible for economic growth and investment, said: “It truly is tragic that there are still many victims of severe domestic abuse.

“I hope as a council we can continue to do our piece to protect those men and women from those horrible practices and signpost people to excellent charities such as SOS Domestic Abuse.”

The Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board commissioned a domestic abuse exercise in June last year to explore the domestic abuse landscape across Greater Essex. Following this exercise a refresh of the Southend needs assessment was undertaken, including a public survey hearing from victims and survivors of domestic abuse in Southend.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter