Domestic abuse cases rise by 30% in Northumbria Police area

The number of crimes related to domestic abuse in the Northumbria Police area increased by 30% last year, according to the latest figures.

Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 11:36 am
Updated Thursday, 28th November 2019, 1:18 pm
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness.

The Office for National Statistics released new data on domestic abuse, covering 2018-19, on Monday November 25.

There were 26,567 domestic abuse-related crimes recorded by Northumbria Police during that 12-month period, up from 20,419 the previous year.

It means that 17% of all recorded crimes in the force area in 2018-19 were domestic abuse-related, compared to an average of 14% across England and Wales.

The figures also show an ongoing upward trend with 14,773 offences in 2016-17 and 10,209 offences in 2015-16; the rise over the last four years is 160%.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “The rise suggests an increased willingness of victims to come forward and certainly indicates increased awareness around coercive control, both of which are encouraging.

“However, these figures demonstrate the true scale of the growing problem and, sadly, most domestic abuse cases don’t even come to the attention of the police. It’s vital that we listen to victims and ensure the whole criminal justice system is effective and fully meets their needs.

“We also need to hold perpetrators to account, challenge behaviours and prevent further abuse. More needs to be done and the police can’t do the job alone.

“Here in Northumbria, my focus is on going right back to the beginning, tackling the issues that lead people to behave this way – it’s unacceptable and we need to stop it.

“I also want victims to be aware of the help and support that is available to them throughout our region. This is something I’m building on through commissioned services as part of my Violence Reduction Unit. Nobody should suffer in silence.”

The Northumbria force area covers a number of local authorities – Northumberland, North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Coun Simon Blackburn, chairman of the Local Government Association’s safer and stronger communities board, said: ”Tackling domestic abuse is an issue that councils take extremely seriously, but they cannot tackle this despicable crime alone.

“Councils need the cooperation of other public services to reduce domestic abuse, which is why a multi-agency approach is vital to this work.

“There needs to be a greater focus on prevention and early intervention measures to tackle the root causes, support more victims and stop domestic abuse occurring in the first place.

“The next government needs to ensure councils have long-term, sustainable funding to help safeguard individuals and families from the physical and psychological harm of domestic abuse.”

Mistreatment of children

Meanwhile, the NSPCC has warned that recorded child cruelty and neglect offences in the UK ‘continue to soar’, with crimes increasing by nearly a fifth in the last year alone.

Across the North East and Cumbria, there has been a 78% rise in the number of such cases since 2013-14.

In the Northumbria force area, there has been a staggering 240% increase over that five-year period.

There were 443 child cruelty and neglect offences recorded by Northumbria Police in 2018-19, up by just three from the previous year, but a dramatic spike from the 131 recorded in 2013-14.

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said: “To see year after year the number of neglect and cruelty offences rise so dramatically is disturbing.

“Greater public awareness and improvements in police recording could be factors in this continuous increase, but deeper societal issues, such as increasing pressure on parents and a lack of investment in early intervention services, are leaving more children vulnerable and exposed to pain and suffering.

“Whatever the reasons for the rise, cruelty to children is never okay, it is vital that children always have a place they can go to seek help and support, day and night.

“Childline never stops and never sleeps, but for this to continue we need the public’s support and to back our Light for Every Childhood Appeal.”