New strategy for tackling domestic abuse in Milton Keynes
Friday 6 November 2020
A new strategy has been launched to tackle domestic abuse in Milton Keynes, from a partnership including Milton Keynes Council, Thames Valley Police, the NHS and local domestic abuse organisation MK ACT.
Domestic abuse happens in communities across the UK but remains an under-reported crime. It is estimated that approximately 12,000 adults in Milton Keynes will experience domestic abuse each year. However, the number of people contacting local police and support services remains relatively low.
The Milton Keynes Domestic Abuse Prevention Strategy (2020 – 2025) sets out priorities and new measures for making Milton Keynes a safer place, with more education on the issues, greater support for victims and zero tolerance of abusive behaviour. The strategy has the voices of people who have experienced domestic violence at its core and has been developed with them and with support agencies.
Milton Keynes Council has funded local organisation MK ACT to provide domestic abuse support services, including a confidential refuge for women and children, since 2003.
The Council is also introducing a housing specialist to support families fleeing domestic abuse. A new pilot ‘sanctuary’ scheme will introduce an option for people who do not live with an abuser to remain safely in their homes, following an assessment and installation of security measures. Thames Valley Police is leading a domestic abuse champion’s scheme with partners as part of raising awareness of domestic abuse.
In parallel, MK ACT will be supporting households with temporary accommodation. Individuals or families can move on to new permanent accommodation or return to their previous home where it is safe to do so. This is particularly suitable for people where a refuge may not be the best option.
Councillor Hannah O’Neill, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We must do everything we can to prevent people from experiencing or perpetrating domestic abuse in the future. Educating our young people on positive, healthy relationships is key alongside flexible support services that provide options for everyone, regardless of their circumstances.
Every day, domestic abuse impacts thousands of lives across the country yet so much goes unreported. We want anyone in an abusive situation to understand they are not alone. Help is available and this crime will not be tolerated in Milton Keynes.”
Kelly Gardner, Deputy Police Commander for Milton Keynes, said: “This is a horrendous crime impacting families across Milton Keynes. Thames Valley Police welcome the preventative approach to domestic abuse.”
Details of the strategy can be found online at: https://www.mktogether.co.uk/
Anyone who is in an abusive situation at home can contact the MK ACT Crisis Service Helpline on 0344 375 4307. Outside of normal working hours, the National Domestic Violence Helpline is open 24 hours on 0808 2000 247.
However, if you believe there is an immediate risk of harm to someone, or it is an emergency, always call 999. The police non-emergency number is 101.
 Data from The Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment 2018-21.
Domestic Abuse Helplines and Agencies:
MK ACT (local specialist domestic abuse support)
0344 375 4307 (open during office hours)
National Helpline for Women
0808 200 0247
National Helpline for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans+
0800 999 5428
National Helpline for Men
0808 801 0327
About MK ACT
MK ACT, formerly Milton Keynes Women’s Aid, has been providing services to domestic abuse victims in Milton Keynes since the 1970s. MKC has funded MK ACT to provide domestic abuse support services, including a confidential refuge for women and children, since 2003. In 2020 MK ACT were awarded the contract to become MKC’s strategic partner in developing and delivering domestic abuse services locally.
MK ACT’s services, including advice and information, crisis support, refuge, dispersed housing, and group work with both victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse, remain open during lockdown.