The number of domestic abuse related crimes continues to rise, Office for National Statistics figures have shown.
The number of police recorded domestic abuse-related crimes in England and Wales increased by 6% in the year ending March 2021 to 845,734, continuing the trend of increases seen in previous years.
ONS states that the increase may reflect improved recording by the police alongside increased reporting by victims.
Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “It is hugely concerning to see the prevalence of domestic abuse continue to remain so high and it is clear that more needs to be done to tackle it.
“Domestic abuse is a horrendous crime, which councils cannot tackle alone. The cooperation of other public services including the police is essential if we are to work to eliminate domestic abuse,” he added.
Police made 33 arrests per 100 domestic abuse-related crimes in the year ending March 2021 which was the same as in the 2020.
The number of referrals of suspects of domestic abuse-flagged cases from the police to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision decreased by 3%, from 79,965 in March 2020 to 77,812 in March 2021.
For the third successive year, the CPS charging rate for domestic abuse-related crimes in England and Wales decreased to 70% in the year ending March 2021, down from 76% in the year ending March 2018.
The figures showed an increased demand on domestic abuse helplines increased in the year ending March 2021 with a 22% increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline in England. However, the report states that this is not necessarily representing an increase in the number of victims, but perhaps an increase in the severity of abuse being experienced, and a lack of available coping mechanisms.
Children First previously reported a surge in calls to domestic abuse helplines following the first lockdown in March 2020 when calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline rose by 120 per cent overnight on 6 April while traffic to Refuge’s website rose by 700 per cent from the previous day.
However, in the year ending March 2021, the number of callers to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by the charity Refuge, in England increased by 22% to 49,756 compared with 40,859 in the year ending March 2020.
ONS figures also showed that of all crimes recorded by the police in the year ending March 2021, 18% were domestic abuse-related. This was an increase of three percentage points compared with 15% the previous year.
Cllr Nesil Caliskan added: “With demand having risen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for comprehensive domestic abuse services, early intervention and prevention schemes and work with perpetrators to challenge their behaviour could not be more crucial.
“We await further details on the government’s Domestic Abuse Strategy, which must include long-term, sustainable funding for community-based support services and investment in perpetrator interventions.”
2022 saw people trying to get back to some degree of normality following the Covid-19 lockdowns, restrictions and school closures that we had faced for the previous two years. However, the impact of Covid-19 continued and many services experienced, and continue to experience, backlogs and difficulties, including those services relating to children and families.
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