Domestic abuse in Doncaster at highest ever level

Domestic violence - posed by models.
Domestic violence - posed by models.

An alarming rise in domestic violence in Doncaster has brought the ‘horrible crime’ to its highest ever level, according to new figures.

Anti-social behaviour in the borough is also increasing, but not by the same extent.

The rising rate of abuse in the home is causing concern because it is far higher than in comparable towns such as Barnsley and Rotherham, with an average of around 28 a day.

Doncaster Council’s cabinet members are due to meet next Wednesday to discuss the issue, and hear how officers plan to tackle the growing number of reported incidents.

It is seen as an ‘area for improvement’ after officers revealed the number of domestic violence incidents in Doncaster continues to increase ‘and is currently at the highest quarterly rate ever’.

In the second quarter of 2013, from April to June, there were 2,490 incidents, an increase of 33 per cent on the same quarter last year.

By comparison, the figures for Rotherham are 1,756 and Barnsley’s are 1,659.

Sheffield, with double the population, was only just over 3,000.

Earlier this year The Star reported there had been 7,500 cases in the previous 12 months - a rise of more than 16 per cent - and council officials and police pledged to tackle the figures.

They believed the economic downturn and high unemployment were the root causes of the problem.

Since then the national economic situation has improved but in Doncaster the number of jobless has continued to rise.

The number of anti-social behaviour incidents in the second quarter went up by eight per cent to 4,803 - which compares to 4,424 in the same quarter in 2012.

As awareness of the problem grows, more people are reporting it, says the council.

Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton said: “Domestic violence has a harrowing impact on victims, their families and the wider community.

“These figures are alarming and show that, sadly, this horrible crime is still an issue in Doncaster.

“I want to see the police, social services, the health service and other agencies working closely together to identify violent partners at an earlier stage, with stronger action to prevent violence even when cases don’t reach court – as many do not.”

Rosie added: “Domestic abuse is no longer a taboo subject, and as awareness of it increases so will reported incidents.”

Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, said: “We continue to work closely with police partners and other agencies to tackle domestic abuse across the borough.

“Through our campaign work we have encouraged more people to come forward and report this kind of abuse and we are regularly reminding people that domestic abuse is a crime that will not be tolerated.

“We have a helpline and improved website for the domestic abuse service to make it even easier for people to access vital help and support.”

Mrs Jones said there had also been a recent improvement in the number of anti-social behaviour incidents, with the number recorded in October 2013 down 9.4 per cent compared with October 2012.

“We are constantly improving our ways of working and, in October, the council’s Neighbourhood Response Team were given extra powers to tackle anti-social behaviour. We will continue to work with police partners to reinforce our zero tolerance approach to ASB.

“An ongoing review of enforcement activity and response is underway, but is still in its early stages at the moment.”