Domestic violence figures rise again

WOMEN in Suffolk are set to be routinely asked if they have fallen victim to domestic violence in a bid to uncover more cases of the abuse, it has been revealed.

WOMEN in Suffolk are set to be routinely asked if they have fallen victim to domestic violence in a bid to uncover more cases of the abuse, it has been revealed.

New figures show reports of the crime are set to increase for the third successive year, after jumping by 16% between April 2004 and March 2005.

Now training is being offered to health professionals, council employees, police staff and citizens advice bureau workers around the county to help them tease out information from victims.

Marianne Fellowes, the county's domestic violence reduction co-ordinator, said: “If you ask the right questions, you're likely to find the answers.


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“We're pleased more people are coming forward but it's only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the total number of cases.

“We hope that by asking the questions to everyone it will remove the stigma attached to the issue and encourage more people to get help.”

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She added a project is also being carried out with schools to teach them about relationships in a bid to prevent future cases of the crime.

The vast majority of abuse is inflicted by men. Although males were the victim in 17% of domestic violence cases, 11% of this total was inflicted in single sex relationships.

Between April 2004 and March 2005 there were 5,500 cases reported, a rise of 16% on the previous year.

Ms Fellowes said she expects this year's total to exceed that figure, with more than 4,000 reports made between April and December 2005.

It is estimated domestic violence accounts for one in four cases of violent crime, with children present in more than half of cases.

Research suggests that, if unchecked, the abuse is likely to become more frequent and could ultimately result in murder.

Mrs Fellowes said: “The rise in reports in Suffolk is primarily due to the increased awareness of the issue. People feel more able to come forward.

“We don't believe there has been a genuine increase in the crime, even though the figures have gone up. We believe this crime has been under-reported, especially in rural areas, in the past and the work we're doing aims to make more people come forward.”

n The main county helpline for victims of domestic violence is 0800 783 5121.

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