‘Huge increase’ in reporting domestic abuse, Mid and East Antrim partnership told

The PSNI received 111 reports of domestic abuse on Christmas Day and 132 on Boxing Day, Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) has heard.

Speaking at a remote public meeting of the PCSP, Detective Chief Inspector Lindsay Fisher said that during the PSNI’s Christmas campaign, police received 3,341 calls relating to domestic abuse.

This figure can be compared to 3,584 in December 2019.

However, the Detective Chief Inspector said she does not believe incidence has decreased.

Policing partnership told about the PSNI’s Domestic Abuse Action Plan.

“There has been a huge increase in terms of reporting to police. It is an increase in confidence in how police will tackle domestic abuse,” she stated.

She spoke of a rise in reports in April, June and August last year.

She told the meeting of the PSNI’s Domestic Abuse Action Plan which “puts victims’ needs at the heart of everything it does”.

“What the police firmly recognise the first time the victim has made a call is not the first time there has been domestic abuse in that setting.

“We have been trained for such a long time to look for physical signs – bruises, broken bones, damage around the property but this is very much listening to what the victim is telling us, to know if it is their own words, or something they have been trained to say.

“It is really important that we do not lose sight of the victim. The first six months away from a domestic abuse situation that is when they are at most risk.”

Commenting on coercive control, the officer said that this is a form of behaviour often used alongside other forms of abuse and can include threats, intimidation, regulation, humiliation and enforced isolation and can be used to “punish, exclude or exhaust” to make someone reliant on the perpetrator and to make someone feel isolated and that they have no-one to turn to.

“This behaviour chips away slowly at a person’s confidence.”

The officer went on to say how damaging this is to a person’s mental health and well-being.

“It is a real step forward to have this recognised as a crime.

“There is also recognition through the Domestic Abuse Bill that children are victims too.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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