Reports of domestic violence on the up in Sheffield

Reports of domestic abuse in Sheffield are on the up
Reports of domestic abuse in Sheffield are on the up
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Domestic violence is increasing in Sheffield – with more than 30 attacks per day being reported in the last 12 months.

New figures have revealed 11,369 incidents of domestic abuse in Sheffield were reported to South Yorkshire Police between April 2013 and March 2014 – an extra 1,164 cases compared to the previous year.

Domestic violence (posed by models)

Domestic violence (posed by models)

And a Sheffield Council report has warned ‘a significant number of incidents are going unreported’, while the head of domestic abuse charity in the city said reported incidents are ‘the tip of the iceberg’.

But Jo Daykin-Goodall, director of substance abuse strategy and domestic abuse at Sheffield Council, said the increase in the number of incidents being reported could be seen in a positive light.

“People are increasingly confident about coming forward and agencies are getting better at identifying people affected by domestic abuse,” she said.

“This is a good thing – it means we can get support to people as early as possible and to those that need it most.”

She said it is estimated around 16,000 adults and 12,000 children are affected by domestic or sexual abuse or violence in Sheffield every year.

More than one-quarter of recorded violent crime in Sheffield is related to domestic abuse - and dealing with the issue costs the city more than £100 million per year.

The council is planning to spend an extra £70,000 procuring domestic violence services from the next financial year as demand increases.

It will increase annual spending to beyond £750,000 - but is reducing the number of contracts it hands out from three to two to help control costs.

The report said: “We are aware that the funding available may not be sufficient to meet demand and will throughout the re-procurement and through contract management be working closely with providers to manage risk and identify priorities.”

Maureen Storey, director of charity VIDA Sheffield, formerly known as Sheffield Domestic Abuse Forum, said there were a number of factors to take into consideration when looking at the increase in reported incidents.

She said: “No-one can really say whether domestic abuse has got worse in Sheffield – we can only ever see the tip of the iceberg and we never really know how big it is.

“Reporting has certainly increased in Sheffield, and nationally – people are now more likely to involve the police rather than put up with domestic abuse – and if they can’t ring themselves, family and neighbours might – they’re less likely to treat it as a ‘private matter behind closed doors’.”

The Sheffield Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 808 2241.