High number of domestic violence cases

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A HIGH number of domestic violence crimes in homes across Mansfield and Ashfield are being reported to Nottinghamshire Police.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that vulnerable women and men are continuing to tell authorities about crimes in their home - with figures increasing since the formation of Nottinghamshire Police’s Public Protection Unit (PPU) four years ago.

The table relates to recorded cases of domestic crime against a family member or current or ex-partner which have been reported to police in Mansfield and Ashfield since January 2007 to the end of October this year.

A breakdown of figures across wards in both districts from 2007 to 31st October this year has revealed that Sutton Central (62) and Sutton East (53) have the highest number of cases across Ashfield and the Ravensdale ward has the highest number in Mansfield with 67 cases so far this year in comparison with 68 cases last year.

Elsewhere in the Ashfield district, there were 51 cases in Sutton West and 49 domestic violence crimes in Kirkby East ward so far this year.

In Mansfield, there have been 43 crimes in Ladybrook ward and 43 cases in Eakring.

There have been 861 cases of domestic violence across Mansfield and Ashfield so far this year compared to 1,171 cases across all of 2011.

Det Chief Insp Andy Gowan, public protection leader for county division, said it is hard to judge domestic violence on figures alone but says it is vital that victims report crimes as early as possible.

“We all know that it is massively under-reported but what we want is for people to come forward and let us know about it otherwise the police and our partner agencies cannot help victims,” he said.

“It would be encouraging if the (domestic violence) crime figures go up but only if this means that more people are reporting it.

“Statistically the figures work against each other as we are also trying to target perpetrators and especially prevent repeat offenders from harming a victim again or another victim in a new relationship.”

The PPU is also heavily involved in Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC), which involves different agencies that meet regularly to manage safety concerns of domestic abuse victims who are at high risk of further harm.

Information is shared about the risks faced by those victims, the actions needed to ensure safety, and the provisions available locally and this informtion is combined to create a risk management plan involving all agencies.

“We work very closely with Women’s Aid and probation and are not afraid to share information, we are concentrating on reducing re-victimisation and victims at risk of high level domestic violence,” added Mr Gowan.

“Historically there could be 15 or 20 incidents before a someone reports violence but we want them to report it early, this sends a clear message to perpetrators.

Christmas is another complication, it is always a time when domestic violence goes up because of alcohol, tension over finances and families being at home together but we are prepared for this by making sure more officers are on duty and staff from Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid are working over Christmas to help victims.”

Mr Gowan says funding for a new initiative has been secured so police can work directly with previous victims of domestic abuse in Mansfield and Ashfield allowing new intervention plans to be put in place.

The scheme will start in Sutton in the New Year and continue across both districts.

Mandy Green, head of services at Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid, said it is clear there is still a big problem with domestic violence.

“It would be interesting to see a comparison between how many crimes there are and how many actual incidents there are,” she said.

“The concern is that we are not seeing a decrease in service users coming to us, what we would like to see is the number of disclosures going up and the number of crimes going down, that way we know our early intervention programme is working.”

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