Police in North-East accused of not doing enough to help victims of domestic abuse (From The Northern Echo)
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Police in North-East accused of not doing enough to help victims of domestic abuse
POLICE in the region may be failing to do enough to help women who suffer repeat attacks from their partners, Labour has warned.
The party has raised the alarm after forces were unable to say how many cases of domestic violence were flagged up as “repeat incidents”.
Other forces around England were able to answer the question – with one reporting that a staggering 34.6 per cent of victims had been beaten up previously.
Yvette Cooper, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said such information was crucial in allowing police to intervene early to “identify and help those most at risk”.
Yet police in Durham, North Yorkshire and Northumbria all said they simply did not hold the data to answer the question. Labour said Cleveland did not respond at all.
The survey was released to coincide with the ‘One Billion Rising’ campaign – an international movement to encourage people to speak out against violence against women.
Ms Cooper said it was worrying that forces were unable to monitor domestic violence – “even if they are called by the same person, to the same address, to confront the same aggressor, time and time again”.
She added: “Freedom of information data from police forces reveals that up to a third of domestic incidents recorded by the police are classified “repeat” incidents.
“Some police forces and local councils do a great job working together and some are piloting early intervention schemes to identify and help those most at risk.
“But more forces need to be doing this – and they need to be collecting the data.”
But some of the region’s forces hit back, insisting tackling domestic violence was a major priority.
A Durham spokesman suggested Labour’s FoI request had been refused on the grounds of cost, adding: “Investigations into incidents focus on putting the victim first.
“We work with a number of agencies to tackle domestic violence and, over the last few years, a range of measures have been put in place to protect victims at the earliest possible stage.”.
Cleveland insisted it did have the ability to identify what proportion of domestic violence incidents involved repeat victims.
A spokeswoman added: “We have an initiative in Hartlepool, in which officers visit repeat victims with support workers.
“If this initiative proves to be successful, then it may be rolled out across the rest of the force.”
The North Yorkshire force was asked to comment on its statement to Labour, stating that data on repeat incidents was not available, but did not respond.
In total, 11 forces provided data to Labour, ten – including three in the North-East and North Yorkshire – were unable to do so and the remaining 21 did not respond at all.
Domestic violence calls to the police account for one in ten of all 999 calls - and, in some areas, are as high as one in five.
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