Domestic abuse incidents are rising on the Isle of Wight.
Figures published by the Isle of Wight Community Safety Partnership (CSP) show 1,786 incidents of domestic violence and abuse in 2019/20, an increase of 193 cases on the previous year.
However, a spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary told News OnTheWight the rise could be attributed to work they have been doing to raise awareness and encouraging people to report.
Scale of problem unknown
The CSP — which is made of six public bodies, including the Isle of Wight Council and Hampshire Constabulary — said it was difficult to measure domestic violence cases due to the complex nature of the issues and the awareness that many cases of such abuse are not reported.
It also said there are no definitive figures for the scale of the problem on the Island because, on average, a victim will sustain around 50 instances of abuse, which can be physical, psychological, sexual, financial or emotional, before they report it to the police.
Despite the increasing number of incidents reported, only 13.8 per cent resulted in a charge, caution or community resolution, with 39 per cent of victims not supporting the proceedings.
Police: The victim is always a priority
Hampshire Constabulary said,
“Domestic incidents can be very complex, and there are often occasions where victims will not support a prosecution. We can overcome this by pursuing a victimless prosecution if the evidence is strong enough for us to do so.
“But regardless of the outcome, supporting the victim is always a priority and we will always signpost victims to support agencies, such as YouFirst, to provide them with the additional help they need.”
Peaked in the summer
In the summer months (between July and September 2019) incidents peaked, with 28.5 per cent of cases recorded in that timeframe, with August 2019 seeing the most — 181.
More victims of domestic abuse were in younger age groups, with the top three age ranges being 25 to 29, 30 to 34 and 20 to 24-year-olds.
Suspects were slightly older with 14 per cent aged between 30 to 34, 13 per cent 25 to 29, and 11.5 for 35 to 39.
Nearly 40 per cent of incidents with suspects aged between 30 and 34 had abused before.
More than 40 per cent were between partners and spouses, including former partners, and 26.1 per cent between family members.
Together, the CSP has been working to raise awareness, train professionals and build confidence in communities to empower people and increase the opportunity to report incidents and to follow through with convictions.
Hampshire Constabulary said domestic abuse was a priority for it, and it seeks to drive up confidence in victims and improve its services.
A spokesperson said,
“The first contact we have with victims and perpetrators can shape the level of engagement of both parties.
“We have delivered domestic abuse training to all frontline officers and staff, and have domestic abuse champions who have specialist training and expertise.”
Domestic Abuse Forum
A domestic abuse forum has set up an action plan to prevent abuse, deliver effective services for victims and perpetrators and understand local needs and priorities for future planning.
While the CSP assessment does not cover the impact Covid-19 has had on crime, nationally domestic abuse is continuing to rise as people are forced to stay at home.
The government says even though the country is in a national lockdown, victims are allowed to leave their home if it is no longer safe.
Full detail can be found in the paper below.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may have been made by OnTheWight. Ed