Report – Manchester Evening News – Domestic abuse surges in lockdown – with police reports showing 13,000 more incidents in a year

Domestic abuse reports in Greater Manchester surged under lockdown, new police data reveals.

Some 52,987 domestic abuse incidents were reported to GMP from May 2020 to April 2021 — a rise of 13,352 compared to the same period the previous year.

The 2020/21 total is almost three times the level of the figure reported for 2015/16, which is based on a ‘simple count’ of ‘individual crime reference’ numbers distributed in a given year, the force says.

Presented with the data, town hall bosses said the rise was partially down to ‘more accurate recording of crimes’.

Data seen by the Manchester Evening News also shows four of the region’s 10 boroughs saw a rise in domestic abuse referrals in 2020/21.

GMP is said to ‘make responding to reports of domestic violence a priority’, with officers ‘delivering an improved service to victims’.

“The position is worse when it comes to recording violence against the person, where more than one in four crimes are not being recorded,” it said.

“Domestic abuse often lies behind these types of crimes of violence, meaning that the victims are especially vulnerable.”

While bosses are confident that some of the rise can be explained by improved logging, statistics from four other Greater Manchester boroughs reveal a similar pattern, Stockport, Bolton, Oldham, and Tameside all saw rises in referrals to their own support services.

In Stockport, local charities warned only last month that they had seen an ‘alarming’ increase in referrals.

“We have had significant increases in the number of referrals through the formal route of high risk cases,” Stephanie Mallas, CEO of Stockport Without Abuse, said in July. She added: “70 referrals in a month. That’s alarming compared to what it used to be.”

In that instance, Stockport council said it had ‘supported our specialist domestic abuse services by applying to available funding for two additional Independent Domestic Abuse Advisors, an additional role to support our medium risk domestic abuse service, as well as supporting our refuge provision to open a new 13 space temporary refuge;,

Now public bodies are pledging more will be done, with deputy mayor Bev Hughes pointing to a landmark Gender-Based Violence Strategy — slated for release in Autumn — as one method in which abuse will be tackled.

“Any report of domestic violence or abuse is one report too many,” Hughes, Greater Manchester’s deputy mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice and fire, said.

“The perpetrators of this crime – which often occurs out of sight and can take place over an extended period of time – inflict terror and harm: they deserve to face the full force of the law.

“Greater Manchester Police (GMP) makes responding to reports of domestic violence a priority – the force is delivering an improved service to victims, a significant and important part of the HMICFRS Victim Services Action Plan. The rise in domestic abuse crimes is directly linked to more accurate recording of crimes as part of this improved service.

“Over recent months, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has conducted a full public consultation on our Draft Gender-Based Violence Strategy, including direct engagement with women’s groups and professionals. Detailed responses were received from these professionals and groups, plus individual members of the public, and GMCA is now taking on board the feedback as we finalise the Strategy.

“Key themes to emerge so far include worries about safety and fears of harassment on our streets and on public transport – this will form an initial focus of our work in this area once we have launched the final Strategy in the Autumn.

“Domestic abuse is an appalling crime – Greater Manchester’s co-ordinated and determined work to tackle it shows it will never be tolerated in this city-region. By working with groups and communities through the many projects and charities that GMCA commissions, we want to help people to change their behaviour so that domestic abuse can be prevented.”

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