Domestic abuse rates in England have risen by 10 per cent in a year, despite official statistics showing a drop in overall crime during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal there were 842,813 domestic abuse related offences recorded by police forces in England and Wales in the year ending September 2020 - up from 769,611.
Total police recorded crimes dropped by six per cent to around 5.7 million offences, largely driven by substantial drops in the numbers during April and June. This was mainly due to the fact that the country was under strict lockdown restrictions at the time.
The results of a separate survey carried out by the ONS show the number of victims of crime in July to September 2020 returned to a similar level as in the pre-coronavirus period of January to March.
Increase in drug and stalking offences
The report, published on Wednesday (3 Feb), also said there was a 16 per cent increase in recorded drug offences, which the ONS said was driven by proactive police work in crime hotspots in April to June.
Stalking and harassment was also up 15 per cent year on year, rising from 23,543 to 64,265 incidents. However, the report notes a change to Home Office counting rules from April 2018 which may account for some of the increase.
There was an annual three per cent drop in knife crime, which the report said was down to a decrease in April to June, when offences fell 22 per cent, from 12,414 to 9,669.
Crime rate could ‘erupt’ after lockdown
Children’s charity Barnardo’s warned that offences could “erupt” once the latest lockdown is eased.
Chief executive Javed Khan said: “The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions have artificially depressed knife crime figures, which were at an all-time high before Covid-19 struck.”
Helen Ross, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “The coronavirus pandemic and related lockdown restrictions have resulted in fluctuations in the level of crime experienced in England and Wales.
“Data from the survey showed decreases in crime at the start of the pandemic, with rises seen over the summer months, specifically in theft, following the easing of lockdown measures, with overall crime now back at pre-lockdown levels of January to March 2020.”