Boost domestic abuse prevention cash to stem harm to children, Government urged

More money needs to be spent on preventing domestic violence rather than dealing with the aftermath to cut the impact on children, council chiefs have warned.

The Local Government Association said more cash should be ploughed into early intervention and support services.

It also wants the number of independent domestic violence advisers in hospitals to spot abuse signs early on to be increased, saying just one in 10 hospitals has access to one.

Figures released by the Department for Education in November showed such violence was a factor in almost half (49.9%) of cases where children were deemed "in need of extra help" by child protection teams in 2016/2017.

The LGA said more than 500 child protection investigations were launched every day in the same period, up from 200 per day in 2006/2007, with services facing a £2 billion funding gap by 2020.

Blackpool Labour councillor Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA's safer and stronger communities board, said: "With almost two million victims of domestic abuse in the last year alone, we need the Government to include early intervention and preventative measures in its comprehensive package of reforms to address domestic abuse as the best way to tackle this issue.

"The Government needs to close the funding gap facing children's services, which will reach at least £2 billion by 2020.

"An urgent injection of funding is also needed to protect the services that families rely on to tackle problems or recover from previous abuse.

"All children deserve the chance of a bright future and we have a moral duty to do more than just pick up the pieces when things go wrong.

"Failure to invest in these services will have long term consequences for our country's children and families and create crises which are much more expensive to solve in the long run."

In June the Government said domestic abusers could face tougher sentences if their crimes affect children, under new laws to transform the approach to violence in the home.

Measures announced in the Queen's Speech included a draft domestic violence and abuse bill aims to ensure courts can hand down a sentence that reflects the "devastating" impact on children when they are caught up in abuse.

The Government said it would also establish a Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner to monitor the response of statutory agencies and local authorities and hold the justice system to account.

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