Norfolk police deal with more cases of domestic violence
Norfolk police dealt with almost 9,200 reports of domestic violence last year – the equivalent of 25 a day – new figures have revealed.
Figures obtained by the Evening News following a question asked in Parliament about the number of domestic abuse incidents reported in each constituency in each of the past four years, show that last year (2009/10) the force dealt with 9,193 cases.
The figure is up from 2008/09 when there were 7,097 reports of domestic violence dealt with by the Norfolk force and up 1,300 from 2006/07 when there were 7,893 reports of domestic abuse.
While the figures, which have come to light just days after it was announced sexual offences rose by 19pc in 2010/11 to 743, might point to an alarming rise in domestic abuse, police chiefs say it could be an indicator of increased confidence and reporting by victims.
Det Supt Katie Elliott, head of the force's vulnerable people directorate, said: 'We have specially trained officers in place to provide a first response to victims of sexual offences and domestic abuse to support them through the criminal justice process, along with a dedicated team of detectives formed to investigate rapes.
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She added: 'In terms of domestic abuse, all victims and witnesses involved in cases going through the court process are referred to the Witness Care Unit; they provide a single point of contact until the court case is finished and will contact you, keep you informed about your case and arrange on-going support.'
Witness care officers can work with victims to overcome any issues or problems they may have about coming to court, ranging from childcare issues to fears of intimidation.
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In September last year, the new Sexual Assault Referral Centre, a partnership between the force and NHS, opened to provide victims of rape and sexual assault with support and guidance in a safe environment with experienced, knowledgeable and professional staff. Det Supt Elliott added: 'I want to reassure anyone who is a victim of a sexual assault or domestic abuse that they can and should come forward and contact us. We will take their complaint seriously and we will do everything possible to support them.'
Lorraine Saunders, a former victim of domestic abuse who set up Dawn's New Horizon, a non-judgemental personal service for victims, believes more victims are coming forward because of greater confidence in the police and how they will be dealt with.
She said: 'People have more confidence to come forward which is great.'
The Evening News launched its Don't Suffer in Silence campaign earlier this year to highlight the problem of domestic violence and the plight of thousands of victims.
To find out more about Dawn's New Horizon call 0844 884 3140 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you got a story for the campaign? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email email@example.com