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Suffolk: Domestic violence reports soar by 11%, but it is only the tip of the iceberg

PUBLISHED: 09:48 06 March 2014 | UPDATED: 09:48 06 March 2014

Domestic violence reports increase

Domestic violence reports increase

Reports of domestic abuse have soared by 11% in a year with police receiving more than 20 complaints a day, according to Suffolk Constabulary.

However, they appear to only be the tip of the iceberg as the county’s police chief Tim Passmore said on average victims will be subjected to 35 assaults before coming forward.

The figures emerged as Suffolk backed a week-long national campaign by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

On Saturday as part of Domestic Abuse Week officers will be launching a countywide initiative giving people the power to request details about their partner to see if they have an abusive past.

The introduction of Clare’s Law follows a successful 14-month pilot in four other forces, which provided more than 100 people with potentially life-saving information.

Clare’s Law is named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton at her Salford home in 2009. She was unaware of his history of violence against women.

The law gives people the right to ask police whether a new or existing partner has a history of violence.

Between October 1 and December 31 last year in Suffolk there were 2,102 recorded incidents of domestic abuse - 11% up on the same quarter the previous year.

Mr Passmore, Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Domestic Abuse is a top priority and I will continue to invest in extra resources in the Constabulary and in the voluntary sector to address this appalling crime.

“It is a very sad reflection on our society that domestic abuse is so prevalent and it is also very worrying that many victims suffer an average of 35 assaults before they have the confidence of report their plight. We need to work together to ensure that anyone suffering abuse has the confidence to speak out.”

Police and their partners help protect high-risk domestic abuse victims through Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC).

These involve representatives from health services, housing, outreach services, child protection, independent domestic violence advisors, probation and other specialists from the statutory and voluntary sectors.

Sally Winston, Chief Executive of Lighthouse Women’s Aid said: “The MARAC process is absolutely essential in supporting victims of domestic abuse who are at high-risk. The issue of domestic abuse is huge and cannot be dealt with by one organisation.

“We would always say that if it is an emergency such as concerned for your life and high-risk then always phone 999. If you just need support and advice, to find out if you are in an abusive relationship as you may not even realise, then there are many services out there to help such as organisations like us.”

Detective Superintendent David Cutler, of Suffolk Constabulary said: “We do understand how very difficult it can be for someone to take that step in speaking about what they have endured and suffered.

“Being hurt, threatened, intimidated, called names, told who you can talk to, stopped from going out, harassed and isolated from your friends and family are all signs of domestic abuse. This is not acceptable behaviour and you do not have to put up with it. Along with partners, we are here to help you.”

If you need help telephone police on 101 or Lighthouse Women’s Aid on 01473 745111.

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