Domestic and sexual abuse figures rise

PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 April 2015

Samaritans

Samaritans

Archant

NORTH Somerset has more cases of domestic abuse than the surrounding districts in the police force area - and more cases which are left unsolved.

There were 214 serious sexual offences and cases of domestic abuse recorded in North Somerset over the past year – of which investigations were fully resolved in 74 cases, which equates to 35 per cent.

The number of serious sexual offences and domestic abuse incidents have risen by 23 per cent since last year.

But the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens suggests the total number of serious sexual offences in Avon and Somerset are low – accounting for less than two per cent of all police recorded crime.

Ms Mountstevens said: “Tackling violence against women and children is one of my priorities in my police and crime plan. I want all victims to know that when they approach the police or any other agency, they will be believed, understood and taken seriously.

“For me, a crucial step is to give victims the confidence to come forward and seek justice.

“When I meet domestic and sexual abuse survivors I often hear of their struggle to leave their partner and the emotional turmoil they experience. By offering the right support we can hopefully help survivors re-build their confidence and life.”

In South Somerset, there were 166 incidents of domestic and sexual abuse in the past year with 74 cases, or 45 per cent of investigations, fully resolved.

In Sedgemoor, 52 domestic and sexual abuse investigations were resolved out of 121 recorded crimes – 43 per cent were fully resolved.

And in Bath and North East Somerset, 52 investigations were resolved out of 140 recorded crimes, which equates to 37 per cent fully resolved.

While these variations are to be expected on account of the low numbers involved, the constabulary says it is still striving to reduce the figures.

It is working to roll out the Bluestone dedicated Serious Sexual offence investigation unit, which was piloted in Bristol, across the whole area to improve consistency.

After the Government introduced new legislation giving more power to police in domestic abuse situations, a Weston officer successfully issued Avon and Somerset’s first Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN) in order to safeguard a high risk victim from further harm.

North Somerset also now has a dedicated vehicle which provides a faster response to high risk victims.

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