Reports of domestic abuse on the rise

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The number of domestic abuse incidents reported to police in Lisburn and Castlereagh increased by almost nine per cent in the last 12 months, figures have revealed.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland recently published its annual crime statistics for 2016/17, which show the considerable increase in domestic incidents in the district.

There were 1,627 incidents recorded in 2016/17 compared to 1,497 during the same period in 2015/16.

Meanwhile, the number of domestic crimes increased by 72, which was the second largest rise in Northern Ireland.

District Commander Superintendent Sean Wright told the Ulster Star that the increase in reports of such incidents reflects the growing confidence of victims to come forward.

He said: “In Lisburn and Castlereagh, we have seen a rise in the number of incidents of domestic abuse consistently over the past couple of years.

“This is a challenging aspect of policing and one on which we have focused heavily with the support of our partners in the Policing and Community Safety Partnership, Women’s Aid and across all of our communities.

“It is my assessment, and that of all of our partners, that the increased level of reporting reflects the growing confidence of victims to come forward to Police and our partner, Women’s Aid.

“By working more closely with our partners and our communities we brought more perpetrators before the courts last year, meaning more abusers were held to account and, where victims did not want a criminal justice outcome we, along with Women’s Aid and a number of other agencies, have been able to support victims and their families through what are often traumatic experiences.

“For Police, one victim is one too many, so we will continue to work proactively to encourage victims to come forward and we will support victims and work with partner agencies to address this issue.”