'Cuts could trigger rise in domestic violence cases in Hull'
FUNDING cuts could lead to an increase in serious domestic violent crime in Hull.
Money aimed at tackling domestic abuse currently provided by NHS Hull is due to end later this year.
It coincides with the trust being replaced by a new GP-led group overseeing primary health services in the city.
The trust currently contributes £100,000 towards the Hull Domestic Abuse Partnership (DAP) by funding seconded staff.
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It also provides another £130,000 to fully fund a dedicated project that deals with violent men who have admitted abusing their partners.
More than 240 men have attended sessions on the project, which has been credited with saving lives and preventing children from being taken into care.
NHS commissioners have already informed Hull City Council, the other main DAP partner, that funding for seconded staff will cease at the end of March.
The same scenario is facing the Strength To Change project, which is contracted to run until September.
In the meantime, a helpline number for the service is set to close in March.
Now Tracy Harsley, Citysafe and early intervention manager at Hull City Council, has warned the potential loss of NHS funding for the DAP could have a serious impact on its work.
In a report due to be discussed by city councillors next week, she says: "The domestic violence sector both nationally and locally are currently preparing for challenging times ahead.
"The potential loss of NHS Hull funding will mean the DAP service will need to be restructured and will only have the resources to provide services to high-risk multi-agency risk assessment conference cases.
"The needs of those assessed as low or medium will be unmet and all preventative aspects will no longer be provided.
"This way of working will undoubtedly impact on the multi- agency working and on the progress and good work that has been achieved by all specialist domestic abuse agencies in Hull.
"The consequences could be that the repeat victimisation rate starts to increase again and ultimately homicide rates."
In the report, she says the council could continue to fund the Strength To Change programme as part of the transfer of public health services to the authority which is also set to take place this spring.
However, the council is facing a £13.6m funding cut from April.
Repeat victimisation rates for domestic abuse in Hull are lower than anywhere in the Humber region despite the city having more than double the number of reported incidents of domestic abuse compared to neighbouring authorities.
Referrals to the DAP have increased year on year since its launch in 2005. According to the latest figures, 1,382 referrals were made to the partnership between last April and October.