CONCERNS have been raised about “scary” figures suggesting people are “four times more likely” to be a repeat victim of domestic violence in Durham.

The county’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) responded by pointing to a new domestic abuse and survivors’ champion, while the PCC’s chief executive partly attributed higher numbers to Durham being a “shining beacon” for crime statistics.

Councillor Robert Potts spoke of his worries about the figures at a meeting of Durham County Council’s police and crime panel.

He referred to statistics in inspectors’ reports about domestic abuse between April 2018 and April 2021.

He said Durham’s figure had risen to five people per 1,000 compared to three nationally.

He added: “Actually repeat domestic abuse in County Durham is four per thousand where it’s only one per thousand nationally.

“It’s quite scary to find out that you’re four times more likely to be a repeat victim of domestic abuse in County Durham.

“May I ask what’s being done about that and who’s being held accountable for this rise in domestic abuse numbers?”

Durham PCC Joy Allen said they had just appointed a domestic abuse and survivors’ champion to work alongside a victims’ champion.

She said: “Domestic abuse continues to be a concern and we are working with all our partners and agencies to address these trends.

“We have got a higher proportion of victims of domestic abuse that are repeat victims, but the inspection found that the constabulary had policies in place that enabled the police to alert victims of domestic abuse to their rights.

“And I say the force is above average across England and Wales for responding to victims’ requests for information about potential abusers.

“There’s some work that has to be done, has to be looked at to improve our service and response to victims of domestic violence, and that will be in hand.”

PCC chief executive officer Steve White said: “One of the things that Durham force has been held as a shining beacon around the UK is about crime recording statistics.

“One of the downsides with that is that you have an impression that crime, domestic violence and those areas, are actually worse than in other parts of the country.

“In fact some of the reality is that the force records those incidents better than other forces. Durham have been able to identify it better than some other forces.

“The force knows about the domestic abuse issues. They then have to be able to tackle it.”

Accountability and scrutiny officer James Atkinson said the PCC’s office was working to provide a “cohesive holistic strategy around violence against women and girls in Durham and Darlington”, a goal in the new three-year police and crime plan.


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