REPEAT CASES of domestic abuse 'continue to rise' in Wokingham, according to the borough’s community safety partnership.

Figures up to June 2018 indicate there is a repeat rate of more than 21 per cent, a rise from June 2017.

At a meeting where councillors discussed how a multi-agency tasking and coordination (MATAC) group is addressing violence against women and girls in Wokingham, councillor Rachel Burgess said the rise was “alarming”.

Graham Ebers, deputy chief executive at Wokingham Borough Council, added: “Domestic abuse is an area of particular concern, and the multi-agency tasking and coordination group recognised that and has it very high on their agenda.

“One of the key ways of addressing that is about trying to intervene with the perpetrators to try to prevent, help, educate, and train perpetrators so they are less likely to perpetrate again, and quite a bit of intensive work is going on around that.”

The MATAC will review medium and low-risk offenders using a model which saw a 60 per cent reduction in repeated domestic abuse in Northumberland.

A report produced for the council outlined that there had previously been a focus from police in supporting victims of domestic abuse and not the perpetrator.

But now it is claimed the perpetrator will also be targeted for support in order to address their behaviour, while victims will receive the same support as before.

Training for the MATAC group will be provided by Berkshire Women’s Aid, with sessions from Behind Closed Doors provided for professionals to help them understand “the lived experience of those people living and witnessing domestic abuse”.

The report also indicated that there were 334 cases of domestic abuse involving children up to September 2018, with 56 of these being taken further for review by police led multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC).

Children are also being supporting by Berkshire Women’s Aid, and small-scale theatre productions are set to be performed in schools to help young people to recognise signs of abusive behaviour in relationships.

Councillors discussed the work being done to address domestic abuse at a meeting of WBC’s community and corporate overview and scrutiny committee on Monday, March 11.