Action against domestic violence working

Tuesday, 27 February, 2007

DOMESTIC violence convictions in Suffolk soared by more than 50% last year, with the figures hailed as proof that action against the 'devastating' crime was working.

Last year there were 652 successful prosecutions for domestic violence in Suffolk, compared to 428 the year before.

The county's conviction rate of more than 76% is now the second highest in England, which the police yesterday welcomed as evidence that its efforts to raise the crime's profile were working.

The figures, which were released following a question lodged by Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley, also showed the total number of proceedings had risen by 26% from 672 in 2005 to 850 last year.

Mr Ruffley said: 'On the one hand these are some alarming figures. Convictions for domestic violence in Suffolk have increased by 52% in a single year.

'However, too often domestic violence is a taboo subject and although one incident of domestic violence is one too many the conviction rate in Suffolk has increased from 63.7% in 2005 to 76.7% in 2006.

'This gives Suffolk the second highest conviction rate for domestic violence in the whole of England.

'We must do all we can to stamp out this despicable crime which can ruin lives and shatter families.'

Mr Ruffley has written to Chief Constable Alastair McWhirter to ask what the force is doing to clampdown on domestic violence.

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Hudson, western area crime manager, said: 'Domestic violence can be a hidden crime, so this rise in reporting and conviction figures is welcomed as it shows our efforts to raise the profile of domestic violence are succeeding.

'We would encourage any victim of domestic violence to report it to us. We have dedicated staff at our victim care centres who give guidance and support to anyone affected by this type of crime.'

Ipswich Women's Aid said it had seen a 30% increase in the number of calls to its helpline over the same period.

'Domestic violence affects one in four women and has a devastating effect on all members of the family,' a spokesperson said.

Ipswich Women's Aid's 24 hour helpline is on 01473 745111.