Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 15°C

Search

Essex: Health professionals urged to be aware of telltale signs of domestic violence

PUBLISHED: 14:49 14 January 2014 | UPDATED: 14:49 14 January 2014

Domestic violence rates revealed

Domestic violence rates revealed

Archant

Essex’s Police and Crime Commissioner is calling on health professionals to lend their expertise in tackling the problem of domestic violence in the county.

Nick Alston wants to encourage dentists, optometrists and pharmacists, as well as GPs, to be aware of some of the telltale signs of domestic abuse and to offer informal advice and support where appropriate.

He says new ideas are required to tackle the problem, with Essex Police currently receiving around 70 calls a day relating to domestic violence.

During the height of last summer the force was getting more than 100 calls each day. Incidents of actual crimes relating to domestic violence have risen for the past three years from 7,437 in 2010/11 to 8,676 in 2012/13.

Mr Alston is due to discuss the idea today at a meeting of the Essex Health and Wellbeing Board, of which he is a co-opted member.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, he said he would like health professionals to be more confident in dealing with potential victims and to “signpost” them to where they can get help. He added: “Early intervention is necessary to stop violence escalating and to ease the burden on services.

“We need to identify potential victims of domestic violence as early as possible and in a lot of cases they may have a range of related issues such a stress.

“I’ve talked to a woman who has lost teeth and another who was blinded in one eye - and they often make up stories. In another instance, a woman with broken ribs told her doctor she had fallen over on a slippery kitchen floor.”

Mr Alston said he had received a “fantastic response” from NHS England’s area team director for Essex, Andrew Pike about the idea. He added that he envisaged health professionals giving informal advice about support groups and woman’s organisations, rather than reporting cases to the police.

“People will not go to the police and in some cases it will scare people away. Domestic violence is a complex issue and in many cases people are trying to keep a family together.”

Anne Naylor, cabinet member for public health and wellbeing at Essex County Council, agreed that sensitivity was required when dealing with issues of domestic abuse.

She said: “The issue is a tough nut to crack. If a dentist sees someone with cracked teeth and starts talking about the police then people are likely to scarper

“A lot of management needs to be done about how this is approached but domestic violence is a growing problem and we need to think about it again

“We have to be sensitive in terms of sharing information between agencies or how we are approaching people or we’ll be back to the 1920s when people who had certain problems thought it best not to go to the doctors.”

A spokesperson for NHS England in Essex said: “We would always encourage any victims of domestic abuse in Essex to contact their GP as early as possible, in order to access the health and wellbeing services they need.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Witnesses to a crash in an Ipswich retail park, which has left an eight-year-old girl in hospital, are being asked to come forward.

A coroner has expressed concern that staff at a Suffolk holiday park are yet to be health and safety trained – more than 12 months after a girl drowned there.

Ed Sheeran will compete against friend Stormzy for this year’s Mercury Prize.

A mental health unit run by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) has been awarded a prestigious accreditation.

A woman in her 70s has spoken of her “shock” after an alleged assault saw her knocked to the ground in the high street of a Suffolk town.

A Bury St Edmunds man has appeared in court after being charged in connection with two burglary incidents in the town within four days.

A group of travellers who had set up an unlawful camp on the West End Road car park in Ipswich have now moved on to the Bramford Lane Recreation ground in the north west of town.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24