South Holland domestic abuse cases up by a third

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DOMESTIC abuse is hitting new highs in South Holland with a 32 per cent rise in the number of cases reported to police between 2008/9 and 2009/10.

The district’s rise is 10 per cent higher than the increase for the county as a whole.

Across Lincolnshire there were 8,072 incidents in 2009/10 and South Holland had 874 cases. Figures for the current year are already on track to repeat the 800-plus incidents in this district.

But the true picture is likely to be far worse because domestic abuse - especially where violence is used - often sees victims suffering in silence.

Sarah Norburn, domestic abuse and honour based violence coordinator for Lincolnshire Police, said: “Research shows that victims will on average suffer 35 assaults before they will report to any agency – therefore it is acknowledged domestic abuse is largely under-reported.”

The police definition of domestic abuse covers any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse - the abuse can be psychological, physical, sexual or emotional - between adult family members, including couples.

Ms Norburn said: “Domestic abuse knows no social boundaries; rich or poor, young or old, male or female.

“Nationally one in four women and one in six men will be a victim of domestic abuse at some point in their lives.

“If left to escalate domestic abuse can and does result in serious harm and injury or, at its worst, death.

“Two women a week are killed by their current or former partner in England and Wales. The effects on children within the family cannot be over-estimated either – nationally over 750,000 children each year witness domestic abuse.”

Christmas, New Year and summer holidays are particular flash-points with domestic abuse cases increasing – and last year’s World Cup saw more domestic abuse cases on England match days.

Ms Norburn said it could be that families are together more or suffering stressful times around money and family life – and, often, there is an increased intake of alcohol.

But she added: “However, domestic abuse does occur in the county every day of the year.”

Ms Norburn urged victims to seek help as police and number of agencies are working together to offer help.

She said: “Lincolnshire Police and partner agencies throughout the county – Women’s Aid, Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Probation Trust, Victim Support and the Crown Prosecution Service – are all working together to tackle abuse.

“If you are a victim, report what is happening to you and the choices will be explained.

“These services will work with you to establish a safety plan and ensure that you do not have to suffer in silence.”

l Anyone suffering domestic abuse can contact police on 0300 111 0300 - or in serious cases dial 999.