Recorded abuse crimes up, but most victims still decline further action
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Domestic abuse now accounts for one in every eight Suffolk crimes and almost half of all homicides.
Of all crime in the last year, 13% related to threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adult partners or family members.
While police launched more criminal investigations into domestic abuse than ever before, more than a third of reports went no further than initial enquiries, and only one in 14 resulted in a conviction, mainly due to victims not supporting further action.
Police classified 61% of 10,995 reports as crimes in the year to March 2018, revealed the Office for National Statistics, compared to 45% of 8,774 reports in 2015/16. It was the seventh highest rate in the country, where an average of only half were recorded as crime.
There were 2,127 arrests and 135 voluntary attendances at stations last year, but most investigations (52%) were halted by evidential difficulties – or the victim not supporting further action.
Five women and two men were the victims of domestic homicide in Suffolk in the last three years – over which time, abuse offences grew more than two thirds.
Higher risk cases were referred to the county’s three Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs), which aim to reduce serious harm to victim, and last year discussed the country’s highest rate of adult female cases.
Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger said victims and survivors can have confidence in coming forward, with 83% of prosecutions ending in conviction.
“Our focus is to ensure victims are at the centre of all that we do in tackling this crime,” he added.
“We remain committed to providing victims with the best possible service regardless of whether they wish to see a case proceed to court. There are a range of protective measures that we and our partners can put in place and we would implore anyone who has or is suffering from domestic abuse to come and speak with us. Talking to somebody is the first step.”
The figures were revealed ahead White Ribbon Day, on November 25, with the aim of eradicating violence against women.
Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, who has invested more than £2m in support services, said: “It is crucially important that victims have the confidence and support they need to report domestic violence, and I hope the focus of the campaign will give those suffering abuse the confidence to speak out.”
Businesses are today being urged to adopt domestic abuse policy as part of the White Ribbon campaign.
Public Health England’s toolkit for employers is being endorsed by the county council, constabulary, police and crime commissioner and chamber of commerce.
The estimated annual cost of domestic abuse to business is £1.9bn due to decreased productivity and absence.
The council’s health chief, James Reeder, said having workplace policy or guidance sent a clear message that domestic abuse is not tolerated and that employers want to help.
Paul Simon, head of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce campaigns, said the toolkit would give employers the confidence to take appropriate action in supporting staff suffering from this “social evil”.
Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, said the campaign sent a strong message that domestic abuse would not be tolerated or condoned.