More men are domestic violence targets
MEN are increasingly becoming victims of domestic violence in Suffolk, a new report reveals.Violence and abuse by family members now accounts for more than a third of all violent crime, according to the figures.
MEN are increasingly becoming victims of domestic violence in Suffolk, a new report reveals.
Violence and abuse by family members now accounts for more than a third of all violent crime, according to the figures.
Between April 2006 and March this year a total of 5,319 incidents were reported to police county-wide and 20% involved male victims, up from 17 per cent last year.
The report, going before the public protection scrutiny committee at Suffolk County Council tomorrow , says male victims, many of who are abused or assaulted by other men, find it difficult to report domestic violence because of the stigma attached to it.
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People in rural areas were also finding it harder to report the incidents or to find help, along with victims aged 46 to 65, who may have suffered years of abuse, and those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and same-sex relationships.
Domestic violence and abuse often starts, or escalates, during pregnancy and an expectant mother may be more dependent on the father of her child and less willing to acknowledge the problem.
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Meanwhile, the financial cost of domestic violence in Suffolk was estimated at more than £43.3million per year, in criminal justice, physical and mental health care, children and young people's services and civil legal costs.
This escalates to £318.3m if the cost to the individual of lost time from work and physical or psychological harm is included.
Joanna Spicer, portfolio holder for public protection who also serves on the county domestic violence forum, said: “This is a very, very serious issue and I know domestic violence appears to have increased a bit, but I believe this is because people are not so frightened about reporting it.
“The conviction rate when we get people to court is not as good as we would like, we need to get good witnesses and evidence, because convicting with a jury is always challenging.
“But I am glad it is now getting out into the open, and we need to have confidence in the criminal justice system and the social care services.
“The police have a specialised domestic violence officers and we have a dedicated court for this in Ipswich.
The county council has developed a series of initiatives to tackle the problem, including a dedicated website and helpline, special court sessions in the Ipswich area to deal with the problem, and education within schools.
The committee will look at the issue of domestic violence, examine the scale of the problem, and decide whether any further action should be taken.