Nearly 10,000 domestic abuse crimes recorded in Suffolk since lockdown

Essex Police has changed how it deals with domestic violence reports

Domestic abuse increased by 12.8% to 9,358 crimes against 5,983 individual victims in the last 12 months - Credit: Archant

Domestic abuse was recorded at least once an hour on average as violence in the home increased during the 12 months since the first Covid-lockdown.

About one in five incidents handled by Suffolk Constabulary between the end of March 2020 and the end of March 2021 were domestic related.

The latest figures presented to the police and crime commissioner's accountability and performance panel showed that domestic abuse increased by 12.8% to 9,358 crimes against 5,983 individual victims in the last 12 months, compared to a three-year average of 8,298 incidents.

Meanwhile, the solved rate fell by 17.3% from an average of 1,205 to 996 – or a little more than one in 10. 

In almost half of cases (47.4%), the victim withdrew support for investigation – a slight improvement from 51.9% on average. 

Monthly totals of domestic abuse incidents peaked in August, according to a performance priority monitoring report, which said volumes began to rise as social restrictions started to relax last May.

The report revealed that a bid had been submitted to secure Home Office funding to deliver an analysis and research project to assess the journey of victims of domestic abuse, from initial report to the end of the investigation, with particular attention around why victims withdraw support from investigations.

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Assistant Chief Constable Rob Jones said the constabulary had put work into developing the confidence of victims to report domestic abuse, and into taking positive action when people do have the confidence to come forward. 

During the first lockdown, the constabulary's domestic abuse team contacted about 400 known victims to check on their welfare and create individualised safety plans.

The team also assisted in the development of the domestic abuse perpetrator unit, which began work in December to promote long-term one-to-one behavioural change.

The most recent crime figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed that while overall crime fell by almost 10% in Suffolk last year, stalking and harassment crimes went up 23% from 5,332 to 6,566.

Mr Jones said: "One of the biggest changes in the last year has been the way we record and investigate stalking and harassment, which have moved particularly into an online place, and we've adapted to take a really strong line, often using our digital support officers working alongside investigators."

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