Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

72 a day... number of Northern Ireland domestic abuse cases recorded last year

MLA's Jonathon Bell and Jennifer McCann join the flash mob

An increase of more than 2,500 incidents of domestic violence was recorded here last year, the biggest rise in nearly a decade.

The shocking figures were released as a Policing Board committee revealed it has raised concerns about a 5.5% dive in the detection of domestic violence cases with the Chief Constable.

The board's human rights and professional standards committee said the latest figures on domestic violence reinforce its reputation as a crime that is often suffered in silence.

In the 12 months to September last year there were 26,390 domestic abuse incidents – 72 every day.

Nearly 10,900 domestic abuse-related crimes were recorded, or 30 offences a day, during the same time.

There was a sharp rise in violence in the home in 2011/12.

The 11% rise in domestic violence incidents reported here in 2011/12 was the biggest rise in the past nine years.

Just over 22,680 incidents recorded in 2010/11 rose to 25,196 during 2011/12 – a jump of 2,511 in just12 months.

Grievous bodily harm, meanwhile, has rocketed by 126% in the last decade.

Particularly worrying is the number of rapes carried out in 'intimate partner relationships'. More than 230 such rapes were recorded last year.

Yesterday, Justice Minister David Ford revealed possibly the most shocking statistic of all.

"Up to six people are killed every year in domestic circumstances," he told a briefing entitled Women and Violence: A Journey of Hope at the University of Ulster.

The event heard from PSNI officers and Louise, a 49-year-old mother-of-four, who described suffering two decades of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband.

However, detection rates for domestic abuse incidents have become a serious source of concern for the Policing Board's human rights and professional standards committee.

The committee's vice chair, Ryan Feeney, yesterday revealed: "Detection rates for this crime when compared to the previous 12 months have decreased by 5.5 percentage points – down from 44.7% to 39.1%.

"This is an issue that board members have raised with the Chief Constable.

"No one in our society should endure any form of domestic violence or abuse. We encourage anyone who has been the victim of violence or abuse to report it to the police and to seek help."

Background

Two 'flash mob' events were hosted at Stormont and Belfast City Hall yesterday, marking the One Billion Rising campaign, a global day of action highlighting violence against women and girls.

Northern Ireland's Women's Aid Federation has said that an incident of domestic violence is reported to police here every 21 minutes.

Women's Aid operates a 24-hour freephone domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247. Alternatively, e-mail: helpline@womensaid.org.uk

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