Growing number of assaults between Portsmouth family members

ASSAULTS between family members have more than doubled in just a few years, a report has found.

Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 7:00 am

A small but growing number of assaults - not including those carried out by partners - has been identified in a report by the Safer Portsmouth Partnership.

Domestic abuse in general accounts for 40 per cent of all assaults in the city, accounting for 2,979 incidents in the last reported year.

But in the last seven years the proportion of assaults between family members has been growing and accounts for 4.3 per cent.

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Shonagh Dillon

Charity Aurora New Dawn said it received 144 calls about inter-family abuse, outside of intimate relationships, on its helpline that has been running across the county since April.

That accounts for eight per cent of calls to the line. Nearly 80 per cent of perpetrators were male.

In Portsmouth there were 22 reports, and 15 of these involved male perpetrators.

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National research has shown most femicides were perpetrated by spouses or intimate partners.

The Safer Portsmouth Partnership added: ‘During April to June 2020, there was a slight increase in domestic abuse crimes reported to the police (four per cent), but not as much as expected.’

It added: ‘However, it is likely that the levels of domestic abuse are higher than the reported crimes suggest, but that the lockdown measures have provided less opportunity for people experiencing domestic abuse to seek support or help, or to engage with specialist services.’

In a recent blog post, Aurora New Dawn chief executive Shonagh Dillon said: ‘Opening our services 24/7 was a risky idea, both financially and resource wise, but it has worked and we will continue for as long as we can.

‘For me it paid off in a personal way that cannot be quantified financially. It reminded me of my roots, of where I started, and of the simplicity of provision that survivors want and need.

‘It really is as basic as an empathetic voice, a listening ear and the beginning of empowering survivors to start to believe that they can trust us.’

For support call Aurora’s helpline on (023) 9421 6816.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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