INCIDENTS of domestic abuse in Rotherham rose by almost a third in just one year, new statistics show.
Figures revealed at a seminar of the Safer Rotherham Partnership revealed that 4,181 incidents of domestic violence had been reported to police during 2010/11—a rise of 794 incidents on the previous year.
In 2009/10 276 victims reported more than one attack, while 362 told police of repeated violence in the latest figures.
The shocking figures also suggest that around ten per cent of women in the borough are currently affected by domestic violence.
The numbers were presented ahead of a national domestic violence awareness week and the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is marked worldwide today.
Cllr Ken Wyatt, chairman of the Rotherham Health and Wellbeing Board, said:
“There are some shocking statistics—I was certainly quite shocked.
“However, there’s a range of agencies now involved in domestic violence issues and there’s greater awareness of it. People shouldn’t have to tolerate this.”
Cllr Wyatt believes that the increase in abuse reporting is down to a combination of increased awareness of support systems and the ongoing recession.
He added: “I think people are not as willing to submit to this as they used to be. Victims don’t need to suffer in silence—they can get support and it will be dealt with by the criminal justice services.”
Cllr Wyatt confirmed that Rotherham Council has committed to tackle the problem, but stressed that they cannot reduce victim numbers alone, adding: “It’s absolutely got to be cross-agency. It’s a thing for the health services, the criminal justice system and the voluntary sector, who play a big role in supporting victims.”
Rotherham marked the awareness week with a stall and a bottle tombola in All Saints’ Square on Tuesday.
It was organised by Cllr Hilda Jack, who chairs the council’s Domestic Violence Forum.
The event raised over £282, an increase on last year’s takings which was greatly appreciated, Cllr Jack said.
She added: “For the last six years we’ve had a stall in Rotherham town centre to raise awareness. Any funds we raise go to Rotherham Women’s Counselling Service.
“We do council men as well, because we realise men do suffer domestic violence, but we’re going to do our best to alleviate it and help people.”
Council staff were out again in Mexborough on Wednesday, selling white ribbons to raise funds and show solidarity with the growing number of domestic abuse victims.
They will bring their message back to Rotherham town centre for the Christmas Charity Market on Friday, December 9.