Inner South Community Committee debates domestic violence


Last night (Wednesday 3 September 2014) saw the first meeting of the new look Inner South Community Committee.

Image courtesy of Behind Closed Doors
Image courtesy of Behind Closed Doors

The meeting started with an hour long workshop looking at the issue of domestic violence. About sixty people, Councillors, residents and officers from various agencies that work in the area split into three groups to discuss a better local response to the issue.

We heard that the scale of the problem is massive with 13,000 incidents a year officially recorded across the city, including six homicides. Beeston Hill has one of the highest concentrations of incidents, but domestic violence affect every community. Although both men and women can be violent, in four out of five cases men are the perpetrator and women the victim.

In the discussion we heard about the complexities of the causes and outcomes. Debt, alcohol and mental health issues can all be triggers to violent incidents, so dealing with these problems may help some situations. There is a need for more safe spaces where victims can speak to someone about their problems. It was suggested that the Committee could act to collate information about schools, children’s centres and other appropriate places and provide a list of the services that are available to help.

Other suggestions included:

  • Training for volunteers to recognise the problem and offer signposting help.
  • Funding for courses for perpetrators who want to change their behaviour.
  • Publicising the issue and how to get help.
  • Working in high schools to challenge young people’s ideas of what is acceptable.

Following the workshop the committee met more formally. The Inner South Community Committee is made up of the nine Councillors from our three wards: Beeston & Holbeck, City & Hunslet and Middleton Park.

In the Open Forum a resident from Holbeck asked if the area could have a resident parking scheme. Cllr Adam Ogilvie said that the issue was being considered for parts of Holbeck, Beeston and Cottingley, but there would be consultation with affected residents before any scheme was launched.

Four projects were approved for funding from the Well Being Budget:

  • Inner South Older Persons Event, to be held at the Civic Hall in March 2015.
  • Money Buddies, to support residents dealing with debt problems.
  • Weekend Lunch and Breakfast Clubs, to extend the work carried out by the Ciaran Bingham Foundation Trust.
  • Operation Flame 2014, to support safety work and reduce anti-social behaviour in the run up to November 5.