Domestic violence: Rise in Devon and Cornwall incidents

Domestic violence - posed image
Image caption Alcohol or drugs factored in about 50% of domestic abuse cases, Devon and Cornwall Police said

The number of domestic violence incidents has increased in Devon and Cornwall in the past year.

The police force said officers responded to more than 25,000 incidents across the region - about 1,000 more than in the previous year.

According to research for Devon and Cornwall Police about half were linked to alcohol or drugs.

Tony Hogg, the newly-elected police and crime commissioner, said the issue of domestic abuse would be a priority.

Mr Hogg, who officially takes up his role on Thursday, described it as a "serious threat to social cohesions, health and wellbeing and police resources".

"If you think of the costs of this behaviour in terms of the women's support agencies, social services taking children into care - massive amounts of money - I find it so damaging," he told BBC News.

Det Ch Insp Mike West, from the force's public protection unit, said no-one should have to put up with abuse in any form.

Rachel Martin from the South West charity ADVA (against domestic violence and abuse) said, while she welcomed the awareness campaign, it was a "myth" that violence only occurred because of alcohol.

"Perpetrators of domestic violence are abusive with and without it," she said.

"What we deal with currently is crisis management in our hospitals, GP practices and in our schools... and what we would benefit from is prevention," she said.

Christine Fritsch from Stop Abuse for Everyone said alcohol could contribute to an escalation of violence.

"Often victims use alcohol as an unhealthy way of coping with the impact of domestic abuse and violence, which in return can make victims more vulnerable and put them at even more risk," she said.

The alcohol and drug treatment charity Addaction said help was available for people who wanted it.

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