Domestic violence on the increase

Silhouette of a woman protecting herself from her partner. Picture posed by models.
Silhouette of a woman protecting herself from her partner. Picture posed by models.

A HIGH number of domestic violence crimes are being reported to Nottinghamshire Police.

Figures show that vulnerable women and men are continuing to tell authorities about crimes in their home - with figures increasing since the formation of Nottinghamshire Police’s Public Protection Unit (PPU) four years ago.

Det Chief Insp Andy Gowan, public protection leader for county division, said it was hard to judge domestic violence on figures alone but says it was vital that victims report crimes as early as possible.

“We all know that it is massively under-reported but what we want is for people to come forward and let us know about it otherwise the police and our partner agencies cannot help victims,” he said.

“It would be encouraging if the (domestic violence) crime figures go up but only if this means that more people are reporting it.

“Statistically the figures work against each other as we are also trying to target perpetrators and especially prevent repeat offenders from harming a victim again or another victim in a new relationship.”

The PPU is also heavily involved in Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC), which involves different agencies that meet regularly to manage safety concerns of domestic abuse victims who are at high risk of further harm.

Information is shared about the risks faced by those victims, the actions needed to ensure safety, and the provisions available locally and this information is combined to create a risk management plan involving all agencies.

“We work very closely with Women’s Aid and probation and are not afraid to share information, we are concentrating on reducing re-victimisation and victims at risk of high level domestic violence,” added Mr Gowan.

“Historically there could be 15 or 20 incidents before a someone reports violence but we want them to report it early, this sends a clear message to perpetrators.

Christmas is another complication, it is always a time when domestic violence goes up because of alcohol, tension over finances and families being at home together.

Mr Gowan says funding for a new initiative has been secured so police can work directly with previous victims of domestic abuse.

Mandy Green, head of services at Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid, said it is clear there is still a big problem with domestic violence.

“It would be interesting to see a comparison between how many crimes there are and how many actual incidents there are,” she said.

“The concern is that we are not seeing a decrease in service users coming to us, what we would like to see is the number of disclosures going up and the number of crimes going down, that way we know our early intervention programme is working.”