Domestic abuse crimes recorded by South Yorkshire Police up 8 per cent in last year
The number of domestic abuse crimes recorded by South Yorkshire Police rose by eight per cent between March 2018-19 and March 2019-20, it has been revealed.
The number of domestic abuse crimes recorded by the force in the 12 months to March 2019 was 20,095, which rose to 21,751 in the 12 months to March 2020.
The domestic abuse crime arrest rate rose during the same period, from 36 per cent to 51 per cent.
At a virtual meeting of South Yorkshire’s police and crime panel, Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, said that in the early part of the coronavirus lockdown, there had been no noticeable increase in reports of domestic abuse in the region, but the number of reports have now started to increase.
He said: “In the immediate period after the lockdown, the number of domestic abuse referrals to national helplines increased exponentially, it was quite astonishing.
“That didn't seem to translate into people in particular parts of the country asking for help from their local charitable bodies or the police, so I'm a bit puzzled about that and I think for the first perhaps month or so for the lockdown there wasn't a noticeable increase in domestic abuse here in South Yorkshire.
“Recently, that's begun to creep up and we're now thinking about whether more has been going on behind closed doors during this period of lockdown than we knew about, and only now we are beginning to discover that. There has been a steady increase more recently.”
The police and crime plan for the county says domestic abuse has been a focal point during the lockdown period, and that South Yorkshire Police were quick to establish an online reporting platform for victims.
The plan states: “Domestic abuse is an area that was predicted to increase with offenders and victims in continuous close proximity, but the concern from the outset was victims may find it more it more difficult to report to the police.
"In response, South Yorkshire Police have been quick to develop an online reporting platform that gives victims an additional channel for reporting DA.
"Using the online portal means victims will still receive exactly the same service as if they had contacted SYP by phone.
“The online portal is not South Yorkshire Police-branded and there is a quick ‘close’ button that removes all evidence of the portal from a victim’s screen.
“The force have also used radio advertising to publicise the ‘silent solution’ as another channel for reporting DA.
“Victims can phone 999 and then press 55 while on the call to allow the police to listen in without the need for a victim to speak - thereby reducing attention that may be generated by a phone call
“A new specialist team set up by SYP just prior to the lockdown dealing with domestic violence protection notices and subsequent applications for DVP orders is progressing well and adapting to Covid-19 restrictions.”