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Suffolk’s PCC says those who experience atmosphere of domestic abuse in childhood are more likely to join gangs

The event brought together representives from policing, social care, health care, housing and academia Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

The event brought together representives from policing, social care, health care, housing and academia Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

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Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner has said there is a link between domestic abuse and an increased risk of joining gangs at a conference in Ipswich.

Professor Nigel South, from the University of Essex, speaks at the domestic abuse conference in Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETTProfessor Nigel South, from the University of Essex, speaks at the domestic abuse conference in Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

The ‘Approaches to Reducing Domestic Abuse’ conference, organised in partnership between the University of Suffolk and the University of Essex, brought together representatives in policing, housing, social care, health care and academia to discuss community approaches to tackling the issue.

Speaking at the conference, Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said the county had seen a 42% rise in reports of domestic abuse last year compared to the average of the previous three years.

However, he said this was an encouraging statistic as it showed people felt more confident to report it.

He said: “What I think is interesting about this conference is there is a wide range of specialists, from practitioners who look after victims, to academics and police.

“It is a particularly brutal and barbaric crime.”

He added that those who grow up in an abusive household are more likely to get on the wrong side of the law when older.

He said: “We are all aware of the difficulty with county lines drug gang violence, there have been some shocking events around Suffolk and the rest of the country. When I have spoken to those involved in gangs I have been profoundly shocked at how many of them, during their formative years, were brought up with violence and a particularly awful atmosphere at home.”

Professor Nigel South,from the University of Essex, said: “The importance of domestic abuse may be more widely recognised than in the past but that does not mean it is no longer happening.

“It is still a crime that is hidden and under-reported.

“When data suggests that every week in England two women are killed by a partner or ex-partner it is clear there is still much to be done to reduce such violence.”

Dr Olumide Adisa, from the University of Suffolk who co-organised the conference with Professor South, said: “Domestic abuse is something we have to raise awareness of.

“We also need to understand the evidence base around it.

“When you look at the context of funding around domestic violence, I think there is certainly a need for evidence to understand what is working.”

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