Victims of domestic abuse in Lincolnshire are supported by some of the best services in the country, according to a leading expert.
Anthony Wills, chief executive of national charity Standing Together Against Domestic Violence, judged the county's anti-domestic abuse partnership as 'excellent' and praised the range of specialist support services available.
Lincolnshire is one of only two areas in England and Wales to achieve the top score.
In a report carried out for the Home Office, Mr Wills said that Lincolnshire's success bucks the trend of similar areas and that to be graded 'excellent' is "very rare".
The report studied a range of aspects essential to the success of an anti-domestic abuse partnership, including its structure, objectives and strategy.
Mr Wills described Lincolnshire's partnership as 'operating highly effectively' and as having 'strong leadership'. He also praised how well the different organisations within the partnership work together, commenting on a 'strong police performance' and the 'very impressive role of Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust'.
Cllr Peter Robinson, the executive member for community safety at Lincolnshire County Council says:
"The report by Mr Wills is extremely good news, and reflects great credit on the agencies dealing with domestic abuse. We shall continue to combat domestic abuse, support victims and hold offenders to account."
The news coincides with the release of quarterly figures showing the performance of Lincolnshire's anti-domestic abuse partnership.
The successful results include an 8.5 per cent increase in the number of domestic abuse incidents reported to the police and a 46 per cent increase on the number of sexual violence victims being supported. Both are better than target.
Karen Shooter, manager of Lincolnshire County Council's anti-domestic abuse team, says:
"One of the biggest hurdles we face in dealing with domestic abuse is victims' hesitation in reporting the crime. Many reasons are behind their understandable reluctance to come forward, not least fear and doubt that they'll get the help they need. I hope that these results will show people just how successful we are and encourage more victims to get in touch."
Lincolnshire's anti-domestic abuse partnership is made up of around 20 local organisations from the public and third sectors, including Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Police, NHS Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire Probation Trust and domestic abuse charities.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.domesticabuselincolnshire.com for more information and local support. In an emergency, call 999.