Rise in reports of domestic abuse - but number arrested falls

Charges and arrests following domestic abuse reports to Suffolk police have fallen for the third year running. 

Charges and arrests following domestic abuse reports to Suffolk police have fallen for the third year running. - Credit: Canva/Archant

Domestic abuse is being reported to police in even greater numbers in Suffolk, but fewer perpetrators are being arrested and charged.

In Suffolk, there were a total of 9,371 reports of domestic violence in the year to March 2021 and 666 domestic abuse-related legal decisions made by the Crown Prosecution Service.

In the same period, there were 438 domestic abuse-related charges, which equates to a charge rate of 66%.

This places Suffolk as the seventh-worst out of 48 police force areas. In other years the county placed in the middle and has always received fewer reports than other areas of the UK.  

There were 7,901 domestic abuse reports in 2018/19, rising to 9,071 in 2019/20.

In response to the falling number of charges being brought, a CPS spokesman said: “We have huge sympathy for victims of domestic abuse and are working closely with police and victim support groups to address the worrying fall in prosecutions.

“We are focused on building strong cases for prosecution, prioritising measures to better protect victims and bringing more offenders before the courts.

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“We are already updating training, guidance and policies for our prosecutors and we will be implementing further measures over the coming months.”

Suffolk detective superintendent David Giles praised domestic abuse victims for contacting police.

Inspector David Giles.

Suffolk detective superintendent David Giles - Credit: Archant

"It's great more have the confidence to come forward. If we have any hint of domestic crime we act. 

"We take it very seriously and focus on domestic abuse. We know some people are disappointed in individual domestic abuse cases. But we know from feedback that our support for victims is really good."

Suffolk Domestic Abuse Helpline (SDAH) has also seen an increase since its service began in May 2020 with a 43% increase when compared to this year, 2021.  

Wayne Duff-Godfrey, head of operations at Anglia Care Trust, who runs SDAH, said: “You will be listened to, completely judgement-free.”

Parliament is also set to discuss an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will mean domestic abuse is treated as seriously as knife crime or homicide. 

There is now a Suffolk Domestic Abuse helpline

There is now a Suffolk Domestic Abuse helpline - Credit: Anglia Care Trust

Home secretary, Priti Patel, said: "Any instance of violence towards another human being is sickening and it is incumbent upon all in authority to try and prevent it from occurring."

If you need help call 0800 977 5690 or here suffolkdahelpline.org.uk

In an emergency call police on 999. 

Witham MP Priti Patel has welcomed the choice of the proposed route for the new A12. Picture: SARAH

Witham MP Priti Patel has welcomed the choice of the proposed route for the new A12. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant