THE death of a mum in Parr underscores why a step change is needed in how domestic abuse is tackled in the borough, the leader of St Helens Council said.

On Tuesday, mum-of-five Rachel Evans, 46, was found dead at a house on Monday, with a post-mortem confirming she died of multiple stab wounds.

Merseyside Police said the incident is believed to be “domestic related”.

On Wednesday night a 46-year-old man was charged with murder.

At the People’s Board on Wednesday, members were told that domestic abuse has been highlighted as a priority issue for St Helens.

Council leader Derek Long, chairman of the People’s Board, said: “This is a key and fundamental issue and we recognise we need to take a step change.

“Each year there are over 2,400 incidents reported to the police, with 1,900 formally recorded as crimes.

“The astonishing thing about that is this is considered an underestimate of the real situation faced by people in the borough.

“On Monday of this week, there was a serious incident in Parr, in which a woman was killed. It was a domestic incident and someone was arrested.

“Obviously legal due process will be followed so we can’t go into the details of it, but that underscores the importance of this, which we all recognise in this room anyway.”

Cllr Long revealed that partner agencies have begun discussions regarding holding a summit on domestic abuse.

The Labour leader then asked members of the People’s Board to approve a domestic abuse summit in the “next few weeks”.

Haydock councillor Anthony Burns, cabinet member for community based and focused services, said the board needs to start taking domestic violence “seriously”.

Cllr Burns said: “Horrendous to read that headline and hear what happened on Monday.

“Domestic violence is a serious issue for this town and we need to start taking it seriously.

“Let’s not come to another People’s Board where we’re talking about it again and saying we have to tackle it again.

“I’m not saying this is a council problem but we’re all partners around the table here.

“Let’s get this summit organised sooner rather than later and let’s start tackling this head on.”

Geoffrey Appleton, lay chair of St Helens CCG and vice chairman of the People’s Board, endorsed the approach and said it would be useful to hear the voices of victims at the summit.

Labour’s Joe Pearson, cabinet member for developing young people, said it was important to focus on tackling all kinds of domestic abuse, such as psychological and emotional abuse.

Cllr Long added that there are “cultural” issues related to domestic abuse that need to be addressed in St Helens.

Cllr Long said: “We need to be clear that we are, as a set of organisations, dealing with the downstream consequences of this but also challenging the acceptance and normalisation of domestic abuse, domestic violence, within our community and frankly in other communities within the region as well.

“It’s our job to take this forward and we will take this forward with great speed and determination.”