Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse cases 'at unprecedented levels'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Dare

Cases of domestic abuse in the West Midlands are at "unprecedented" levels, police have said.

A shadow of a man with a clenched fist as a woman cowers in the corner
PA Media

Figures from West Midlands Police show recorded incidents have more than doubled in five years from 15,000 in 2013-14 to about 34,000 in 2018-19.

They also reveal July 2019 saw the highest level officers ever recorded in a single month - 3,524 offences.

The force said one reason was better recording of the crimes and victims being more confident to come forward, but said the rising number of reports were putting a strain on officers.

Chiyvonne Shennan explains how her sister fell victim to a killer
Chiyvonne Shennan explains how her sister Cherylee had been unaware of the full extent of her boyfriend's violent history.

Domestic violence rise 'aided by police cuts'

The number of people killed as a result of domestic violence in the UK is at its highest level in five years.

Last year, 173 people were killed in domestic violence-related homicides, according to data obtained by the BBC from 43 police forces across the UK - an increase of 32 deaths on 2017.

Faces of women killed in domestic violence
BBC

The Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, Jess Phillips said police officers were taking domestic violence seriously, but "they simply don't have the resources to do what they may have done previously".

The rising figures, she said, were due to a "police force and a CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] that cannot cope, and the government is responsible for that."

Government minister Victoria Atkins said the domestic abuse bill would be included in the next session of Parliament and also pointed to the introduction of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme - known as Clare's Law -which lets people find out from police if their partner has a history of domestic violence.