Domestic abuse in Doncaster is 'on the rise'

Reports of serious domestic abuse have risen sharply in Doncaster, figures show.

"High-risk" incidents reported to the Doncaster Domestic Abuse Helpline rose by 58%, according to Doncaster Council.

They went up from 154 during a six-month period in 2010 to 243 for a similar period this year.

Joan Beck, of Doncaster Council, said the rise was "encouraging" in that it shows that "domestic abuse is becoming less of a hidden crime".

High-risk cases are classed as those in which the victim is in danger of receiving serious physical harm. They are discussed by a multi-agency group, including the police and Doncaster Women's Aid.

Ms Beck said the rise could be explained by the work the council had done to raise awareness of the issue.

"We created a new website for victims and as a result we have seen an increase in the number of reports into the service, which are assessed as high risk," said Ms Beck, director of adults and communities.

April-September 2010

  • Overall incidents reported: 3,297
  • High risk incidents: 154

April-September 2011

  • Overall incidents reported: 3,400
  • High risk incidents: 243

Source: Doncaster Council

The helpline and website encourages victims to report physical, emotional and sexual abuse as well as harassment, isolation, forced marriage and so-called honour-based violence.

Ms Beck said that while domestic abuse was "traditionally under-reported", it had the highest repeat rate of any crime.

"Once a victim gathers the courage to report one incident it's extremely likely that more will follow, due to the nature of the relationship between victim and perpetrator."

The number of domestic abuse reports not classed as high-risk has stayed at a relatively stable level.

The Doncaster Domestic Abuse Helpline is managed by Doncaster Women's Aid, directed by Sue Womack.

Ms Womack said there had been an increase in calls to the service since the website launched: "If we increase staff, we find we increase the number of contacts to Women's Aid."

Victims in Doncaster are encouraged to report incidents to the Doncaster Domestic Abuse Helpline on 01302 326411, or via the website.

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