Northampton

Northamptonshire volunteers housing victims in their homes

Domestic abuse Image copyright PA
Image caption More women now come forward to report domestic abuse, said Northamptonshire Police.

Women at risk of domestic violence are being housed in volunteers' homes because of a lack of resources in Northamptonshire, a charity says.

In the past six months 107 women contacted Zimwomen, a support group for women from black and ethnic minorities.

Zimwomen director Rutendo Nyatsine said volunteers may put themselves in danger by using their homes as refuges.

Police responses to abuse had improved and staff were better trained, but a safe haven was still needed, she said.

Police control room staff are now trained to deal with calls about domestic abuse incidents, stalking and so-called "honour crimes" following a report on the issues by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in March.

Assistant Chief Constable Ivan Balhatchet said the force had responded to the report that stated "tackling domestic abuse is a clear priority".

Despite shrinking budgets, control room staff had under gone training in techniques to deal with incidents especially in cases where black, Asian or other ethnic minority communities were involved.

'Threatened or scared'

Awareness campaigns had given victims more confidence to come forward, police said.

Zimwomen dealt with more than 200 cases of domestic violence last year.

"Help is now needed for a half-way house or safe refuge for women to stay overnight or for a few days.

"This would be for women who had been threatened or were scared.

"It would avoid volunteers having to house women at risk," Ms Nyatsine said.

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