Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner to map out measures tackling rises in domestic abuse and sexual offences

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore is working with police to tackle rises in domest

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore is working with police to tackle rises in domestic abuse and sexual offences. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore is se to map out measures to combat soaring numbers of sexual offences and domestic abuse incidents in the county at a meeting this Friday.

The Police and Crime Panel will meet on Friday morning in Bury St Edmunds, where Mr Passmore will respond to questions and concerns surrounding significant rises in those offences.

Latest Suffolk Constabulary figures revealed that last year the number of domestic abuse cases reported was 6,359 – up 37% on the average of the last three years, while fewer than one in five of those were solved.

Serious sexual offences reports had increased by 34% for the same period, with fewer than one in 10 being resolved.

Mr Passmore said: “The role of the Police and Crime Panel is to support and challenge the work of the PCC and it is absolutely right that the panel should raise the serious issue of domestic abuse and serious sexual offences and ask for my comment on why incidents of these horrific crimes are rising.

“The Chief Constable and I are committed to working together to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice and the needs of victims are met.”

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He added that more than £2million had been invested since 2012 in solving domestic abuse cases, and more training had been introduced for frontline officers.

The report prepared for Friday’s meeting said there had been a rise in the number of domestic abuse cases where the victims did not want to pursue prosecution, which was the case with around half of all cases.

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The length of time between incidents happening and being reported also impacted on the ability to solve cases.

Sally Winston, chief executive of Lighthouse Women’s Aid which supports victims of domestic abuse, said that fear and low self-esteem often stopped victims coming forward.

She added: “Domestic abuse is epidemic within our society, it destroys lives and is perpetuated through generations.

“It is so important that victims are believed and that they receive the right support through specialist services such as Lighthouse and that appropriate action is taken against perpetrators through police, prosecution and court processes.

“It is also so important if we are to stop the cycle, that every child has the opportunity to learn about healthy relationships with a view to preventing them becoming either victims or perpetrators of the future.”

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