Survey shows rise in domestic violence
MORE than one woman in four in Suffolk admitted to their GP they were a victim of domestic violence, a survey found.The research was conducted on all female patients unaccompanied by their partner while attending GP surgeries in Suffolk and found up to 27.
By Danielle Nuttall
MORE than one woman in four in Suffolk admitted to their GP they were a victim of domestic violence, a survey found.
The research was conducted on all female patients unaccompanied by their partner while attending GP surgeries in Suffolk and found up to 27.9% had experienced domestic violence.
Less than a third of the victims had previously reported the matter to police or sought help.
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The results were published in a report to Suffolk Police Authority, which also revealed the number of domestic violence incidents reported to police in the county between March and June this year saw a sharp increase of 100.
The report said no area of the county was isolated from the problem, with rural areas as much affected as urban parts.
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"Domestic violence can be clearly seen to be as prevalent, and at times more so, in sparser populated areas. This shows that all types of community are potentially vulnerable to this form of criminality," it said.
Nationally domestic violence claims 150 lives every year – three of which are in Suffolk – and accounts for a quarter of all violent crime offences.
Evidence shows victims suffer an average of 35 assaults before telling the police and has proven alcohol is responsible for 60% of serious injuries caused through domestic violence.
Figures for repeat offending are high at 37% and the total cost of the crime throughout the UK is £23billion – with the cost in Suffolk at £260,666 every year.
A scheme is already underway to set up three resource centres in Suffolk known as Area Victim Care Centres, which will improve provision to victims of sexual offences, child protection, domestic violence and other vulnerable witnesses.
These will be based in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.
Marianne Fellowes, Suffolk's domestic violence development officer, has successfully obtained funding for 88 digital cameras which will be issued to enhance evidence gathering capabilities, particularly in relation to domestic violence.
The report states: "Early evidence gathering is of the utmost importance, not least in ensuring that domestic violence investigations focus on sources of evidence other than the victim's statement and do not rely upon the victim's support for a prosecution."
The Constabulary handed out more than 50,000 leaflets on the issue at events in the county last year, which led to increased reporting rates of the crime.
Extra funding was also secured from the Home Office to increase service provision to victims including the development of a dedicated website and to train volunteers.
The findings of the report will be presented to Suffolk Police Authority by Chief Constable Alastair McWhirter at a meeting on November 12.