VICTIMS of domestic violence are in danger of “slipping through the net” as a leading charity faces £400,000 of cuts to its services.
Wearside Women in Need today warned that years of hard work supporting beaten women in Sunderland is at risk due to massive Government cuts.
The organisation, which is a lifeline to hundreds of battered wives and partners, has already had to close one project as well as making staff redundant.
Today, bosses said the problems they face are reflected in similar charities across the city and, unless action is taken, the ramifications could be felt for years to come.
Claire Phillipson, director of the charity, said: “It’s not just us; all the services that support and help people in the city are being cut right back. Now the cracks are starting to show.
“All the good work that has been done to tackle domestic violence and help the children who, let’s not forget, are also victims, is slowly being unpicked.
“People think you can take millions and millions out of the budget without it having any impact, but you can’t.
“In terms of our own workload, we have been cut, we can no longer meet the demand we have. We have had to close one project and make staff redundant
“The fear is we are starting to build up a legacy that cannot be undone. There will come a point where we will miss things – attackers and victims will slip through the net.”
Concerns are now growing that criminals are taking advantage of the impact cash cuts are having and becoming more confident in taking out their frustrations on their partners.
Ms Phillipson added: “We are already back to seeing a lot of bruised faces coming through the door. Some men think it’s now fine to punch where the marks can be seen; there is a new confidence about being violent that is starting to emerge and that’s very worrying.
“In the end, it will also be the children who are paying the price.
“There is a price to be paid for these cuts and we are all now starting to see that.”
Every day, five Wearside women are attacked, abused and degraded by their partner.
Some are beaten in their own home, often in front of their children, while others will be humiliated in public.
During the past two years, 3,757 arrests have been made by police investigating domestic violence in Sunderland.
The figures rose from 1,822 in 2011 to 1,935 in 2012.