A FORUM has been launched in Basingstoke in a bid to deliver better support and protection for victims of domestic violence.

Charity Taking Steps Project is leading the initiative, alongside other agencies who come into contact with both victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse.

Representatives from the police, local schools, the borough council, relevant charities and the NHS are among those who sit on the forum, which meets every six weeks.

Taking Steps chief executive Gerrie Jordan said that she is delighted with the response so far from partner agencies.

She said: “Domestic abuse is a huge problem which affects so many people and it is something we all need to talk about. It affects people regardless of class, age or gender.

“Schoolchildren can be affected by seeing problems with their parents and can copy that behaviour themselves so it is important that we are working with local schools.

“We hope to get even more schools involved in the forum in the future. We want to share ideas, and get different perspectives on the issues and how to deal with them.”

Sergeant Gary Gray, part of the safeguarding team for North Hampshire, said that information is often not shared between partners dealing with incidents of domestic abuse.

He added: “This forum will help us address that problem. All the different agencies involved will have a different perspective on domestic abuse, and we can learn from each other.”

Taking Steps Project is a Basingstoke-based charity which offers weekly support groups in locations including South Ham and Hook.

It also provides support for perpetrators of domestic abuse through a relapse and prevention group.

For more information, visit takingstepsproject.com.