Making a real difference

Sometimes the social problems that we research at NPC can seem intractable with little hope of things improving. We see charities doing great work but we don’t always see social problems going away. 100 years ago charities were set up to tackle poverty in Tower Hamlets in London. But 100 years later, it still remains one of the poorest areas of London, with no sign of that changing soon.

Therefore I hope readers won’t think it’s just because I’m a geek that reading the British Crime Survey made me very happy. The survey shows that figures for domestic violence have been falling since 1995. Falling dramatically as well – by 70% since 1995. Nor is that just because 1995 was a particular high. Last year, incidents fell 15%. As far as I’m aware, this isn’t because of some methodological change in the way they count them, but a real fall that’s been happening for years.

When I think about it, it’s not that surprising. Domestic violence has moved higher up the government’s agenda during this time. More money has gone to the sector, both statutory services and charities. More targets have been set about reducing in domestic violence. And charities have been at the forefront of innovations that have made people safer. For instance, Coordinated Action Against Domestic Violence, has pioneered the training of Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) and people attending Multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs). It produced an evaluation that shows following intervention by an IDVA and a MARAC, 60% of domestic violence victims report no further violence. All over the country there are thousands of women who are being helped by IDVAs and MARACs and who are safer as a result.

While it might seem that nothing ever improves, beneath the surface changes for the better are happening. And these triumphs by charities should be celebrated. Let me know about other achievements of charities in other sectors.