Shocking cost of domestic violence in Islington exposed

The 4,000 cases of domestic abuse reported to police in Islington last year could only be the "tip o

The 4,000 cases of domestic abuse reported to police in Islington last year could only be the "tip of the iceberg" - Credit: Archant

The scourge of domestic violence that plagues Islington was laid bare this week as a health team revealed almost 4,000 reported cases – costing the borough nearly £26million.

The figure includes one murder and represents half of all violent crime against woman.

Aside from the crippling emotional cost, the abuse costs the borough £25.7m: £7.7m in health care and the rest on public services, like the criminal justice system, and also the economic disruption caused by victims taking time off work.

The shocking statistics form part of a report delivered to Islington Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday by Anne Clark, who co-ordinates the borough’s strategy on domestic violence. She said: “These figures are just the tip of the iceberg, because most victims don’t report the abuse. Although the number of cases is high in Islington, we see that as a positive because victims are coming forward.

“One of the most important ways we can fight this is to train frontline health workers to spot the signs of abuse and pass them on. For example if a dentist treats a woman who has had her teeth punched out, he could refer her to the right service – a lot of victims won’t go to the police, so it’s vital health workers are aware.

“We didn’t have one case referred from health services last year, and that is worrying.”

Figures obtained from the Whittington hospital on 870 Islington victims of domestic violence show that more than 50 per cent arrived by ambulance.

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The most serious cases are referred to the Mulit-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (Marac).

Ms Clark said: “These are people so at risk, we think they might be murdered. Often these are women with complex needs, suffering from more than one indicator – like substance misuse, rape, attempted suicide, stalking, etc.

“We see about 18 cases a month in MARAC.”

Domestic violence is defined as an incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between two adults who are or have been intimate or are family.