An outbreak of domestic abuse is reported in Doncaster every hour, shocking new figures have revealed.
The figures, from the Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, reveal a total of 2,057 domestic abuse incidents were reported in the town between October and December 2015 - the equivalent of one per hour.
This compares with 1,652 in Rotherham and 1,462 in Barnsley within the same period.
Jackie Wilson, the DCST’s director of performance, quality and innovation, said: “Doncaster has some real challenges around levels of domestic abuse.”
But work is under way to tackle the issue.
Today The Star launches a week-long series of stories to raise awareness of domestic abuse in the borough and the impact it has on thousands of households.
Doncaster Council defines domestic abuse as being ‘any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse – psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional – between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.’
Domestic violence is also felt in a third of homes where children and young people are living in Doncaster, according the experts.
Jackie Wilson, the DCST’s director of performance, quality and innovation, is aware of the problem Doncaster faces over the issue.
She said: “Doncaster has some real challenges around levels of domestic abuse and people very often see it as just an adult issue.
“But children in families where there is domestic abuse really do suffer too; it creates an unsafe and an unhappy environment for them to live in, and this is damaging the emotional development of these youngsters.”
Doncaster has been a hot-spot for domestic abuse, both in South Yorkshire and nationally, for a number of years.
In 2013, Doncaster had more domestic abuse reports to police than any other comparable sized town in the country.
The following year, incidents reached peak levels of more than 9,000.
This equates to 173 every week.
In July last year, it was revealed levels had fallen for the first time, with 8,738 incidents between April 2014-15.
But despite the small decrease, it is still a big issue in Doncaster today.
One campaign which is helping to tackle the effects of domestic abuse is the DCST’s Growing Futures – a £3.1m programme which aims to put children and young people at the centre of domestic abuse support.
Jackie added: “We are working in partnership to challenge abusive behaviour, to encourage anyone affected by domestic abuse to get support, and to raise awareness about the damage it is causing.”
Doncaster lost one of its ‘lifeline’ domestic abuse services in April, when
Doncaster Women’s Aid closed due to funding cuts.
Louise Harrison, who worked there for three years, said the service had been a ‘vital’ one that she hoped would be replaced.
The 46-year-old said: “The name Women’s Aid meant something to people here because of the work it did here for so many years.
“The council worked hard to try and save it, but sadly our efforts and their efforts weren’t able to.
“I only hope the council can find a way of funding an independent replacement that can help women in the same way this one has.”