EXTRA funding is set to be pumped into council services aimed at preventing domestic abuse.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s cabinet agreed to invest an extra £247,000 into staffing resources for supporting families with complex circumstances at Wednesday’s meeting.

The funding will go into CWAC’s early help and prevention team, and it is hoped the cash boost will help improve support for families who are at ‘medium risk’ of abuse – before they hit crisis point.

It follows a review into CWAC’s domestic abuse services by a cross-party group of councillors chaired by Cllr Val Armstrong, Labour.

“It is now time nationally to look at helping all children and adults affected by domestic abuse and to broaden out the focus from those high risk families,” she said.

Northwich Guardian:

“No one should have to live in fear of abuse and I hope that this report and its recommendations will help to keep families in the borough safe.”

As part of their review, five councillors spoke to both survivors of domestic abuse and services that offer victims support last December.

They then made 14 recommendations to CWAC on how it can improve its domestic abuse services – including efforts to make sure housing support is available for families at risk of abuse and help for schools to support children at risk of abuse.

Cllr Armstrong told cabinet that 764 children have been referred to CWAC’s children’s services team following cases of domestic abuse.

She said that the majority of those referrals were made to the council by police – meaning CWAC could only intervene after abuse had taken place.

Cllr Margaret Parker, Conservative, was one of the members of the working group.

“Too many children are living with domestic abuse,” she told cabinet.

Northwich Guardian:

“If our report and recommendations can go some way to alleviate that then we have done a good job.”

The funding boost for prevention services will come into effect on April 1.

Anyone who needs support regarding domestic abuse can call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

Victims of domestic abuse, or friends and families of someone who could be in an abusive relationship, can also find advice online at openthedoorcheshire.org.uk