Thousands of domestic violence reports flood in to Wolverhampton police
Almost 6,000 domestic violence incidents were reported to police in Wolverhampton over the last year, a new report has revealed.
An average of 16 incidents of domestic abuse were recorded each day across the city, nearly half of which occurred with children and/or pregnant women present.
The frightening scale of domestic violence across the city has been revealed in a report to Wolverhampton City Council's children's trust board.
It states that of the 5,900 incidents reported in Wolverhampton, around 30 per cent involved repeat offenders.
And 598 of the cases were assessed as being of the 'high risk' category, meaning they had the potential to result in serious harm or death. In those cases, 728 children were involved.
But only one in 10 incidents of domestic violence is reported to police, according to the report.
The figures have been described as 'a major concern', with over-stretched domestic violence support services across the city struggling to cope with the soaring demand.
Over the last year, The Haven, which provides services to women and children who are affected by domestic violence and homelessness, has supported 242 women through refuge accommodation and assisted 313 women and more than 500 children in the community.
Hayley Edwards, a spokeswoman for the charity, said she had seen a rise in the severity of violence and abuse over the past year, as well as an increase in the number of families in poverty.
She said: "You can safely say that domestic violence is a worrying issue that needs to be addressed.
"It is is major issue across the city, but what we need to consider is that this is the tip of the iceberg.
"There are still many who don't report the abuse for a number of reasons; in some cases it is culturally acceptable for domestic violence to take place amongst partners and family members.
"In other instances incidents are not reported due to financial barriers or fear of repercussions. Women shouldn't fear reporting domestic violence."
She added that The Haven had been forced to refer some victims to other agencies due to its properties being full to capacity.
Earlier this year Wolverhampton City Council launched the Children, Young People and Families Plan with a stated goal of reducing domestic violence.
Councillor Val Gibson, the authority's cabinet member for children and families, said: "The figures are of great concern to the council and we have taken steps to try and limit the instances of domestic violence across the city.
"We know there are still lots of unreported cases and we are urging the victims of domestic violence to come forward."
Last week the Big Lottery Fund pledged £48.5 million to fund additional support for women who are victims of domestic abuse and sexual exploitation.
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