The latest crime survey for England and Wales was released on 19th October 2017. This document shows an 18% increase in domestic abuse offences recorded in 2016.

It has been considered that the increase in reporting offences may not be due to a sudden increase in abusive relationships but could be more to do with improvements by the Police and how they handle these reports.

In 2014 a progress report was produced by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary aimed at improving how the Police respond to reports of domestic abuse, thus to encourage victims to report these crimes.

The Police report domestic abuse accounts for 10% of all recorded crime. Since the “Everyone’s Business” report published by the HMIC, the Constabulary has seen a 31% increase in domestic abuse related crime.

So What is Domestic Abuse?

There is the misconception that domestic abuse has to be physical. This is not the case. Domestic abuse can be physical or sexual but can also be financial or psychological. Financial abuse can include the perpetrator controlling the victim’s finances, taking money from them and even preventing the victim from working or claiming benefits.

Psychological abuse includes making the victim feel scared or intimidated, humiliating them or degrading them and the perpetrator may threaten to harm themselves, another or even a pet to gain control.  This kind of abuse can also take the form of coercive or controlling behaviour. This particular form of abuse became a criminal offence on 29th December 2015 under the Serious Crime Act. The offence can include repeatedly or continuously or controlling where a person will go, who they can see, what they wear and checking their mobile phone or social media, with the intention of making the victim feel subordinate or to isolate them from their friends or family. Many victims of this type of offence do not even realise they are the victim of domestic abuse until the behaviour begins to have a substantial and adverse affect on their day to day activities.

Domestic abuse can affect both men and women, can take place between those in an intimate relationship, between family members and can have a profound effect on children.

‘The Pan’ – Lancashire Domestic Abuse Plan put in place by Lancashire Constabulary to tackle domestic abuse regards the consequences of children witnessing or being involved with domestic violence as devastating. According to the NSPCC one in five children have been exposed to domestic abuse, either seeing it, hearing it, witnessing the injuries or distress afterwards or being hurt by trying to stop the abuse. In the last four years the NSPCC have seen a 70% increase in reports of children affected by domestic abuse.

If you believe you have been or are the victim of domestic abuse our experienced team at Farleys can help.  We have offices in Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley, Preston and Manchester.

We also offer a free family clinic on a Thursday between 4pm and 6pm at our offices in Blackburn and Burnley.  Do not delay in getting help. For more information telephone our family team on 0845 2870939 or email us here.