Campaigners demand action over growing domestic violence problems in Portsmouth

Police say
Police say
  • Hampshire police sergeant reveals calls about domestic violence are taken ‘every three hours’
  • Victims demand action is taken now to address growing problem in Portsmouth
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POLICE in Portsmouth get a call reporting domestic violence once every three hours.

That’s the shocking statistic revealed by a city police officer, who says it’s a big problem.

It’s something we deal with on a daily basis, I would go as far to say on a three-hour basis. If I have that radio on, I hear about domestic violence.

Sergeant James Noble, of the Safer Neighbourhood team for Eastney and Milton

Speaking at the latest meeting of East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum, Sergeant James Noble said it was something he dealt with on a daily basis.

Responding to a question about the issue, Sgt Noble, of the Safer Neighbourhood team for Eastney and Milton, said: ‘Domestic violence is a problem everywhere.

‘It’s a problem all over the country. It’s something we deal with on a daily basis,

‘I’d go as far to say on a three-hour basis.

‘If I have that radio on, I hear about domestic violence.’

Domestic abuse charity Aurora New Dawn says 173 people in Portsmouth have been referred to it for help in the past six months – equivalent to around one a day – but that does not take into account 24-hour assistance.

Its chief executive Shonagh Dillon warned many more suffer in silence.

She said: ‘There is still so much we need to do to raise awareness of this hidden crime.

‘The statistics don’t show us a real picture of the number of people who experience domestic abuse over their lifetime.

‘All statistics from the police will only capture those reported, and there are many victims and survivors who never go to the police or any outside agency.’

And victims say more needs to be done to give men and women greater confidence to come forward.

Portsmouth resident Maria Cole, 71, who suffered years of domestic abuse and a sex attack in the 1960s, said she was alarmed.

She called on the council’s cross-party working group – set up to help tackle abuse – to continue giving people confidence to speak out.

She said: ‘It concerns me there is that amount of abuse going on still.

‘It’s no good just sitting around the table talking about it.

‘The council needs to make it easier for women to go to the police and complain.’

Tory community safety boss Rob New, chairman of the cross-party group, said members were receiving training to provide support to families of victims.

And he praised the work of a community safety campaign led by Rachel O’Reilly in helping more women to report crimes.

Ukip councillor Julie Swan was subjected to a campaign of harassment.

She said: ‘It’s a massive problem and people don’t talk about it. It’s just accepted.

‘The problem is you don’t realise at the beginning that you are being controlled.

‘You don’t realise until you start talking about it, how many people it happens to.’

The Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference, a community response to serious violence, takes up to 40 new cases a fortnight in Portsmouth.

Nationally, police receive a call about domestic violence every 30 seconds.

It is defined as an incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse – not necessarily physical – between adults who are or have been partners or family members.

Police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes, who pledged to make domestic violence one of his priorities, was unavailable for comment.

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