Domestic abuse almost triples in Derbyshire in just six years
Domestic abuse crimes almost tripled in Derbyshire over the last six years – and more than 16,000 were recorded during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, figures show.
Nearly 850,000 such crimes were reported to police across England and Wales last year, and that is merely "the tip of the iceberg", according to charity Women's Aid.
Rates for many other crimes dropped during a year that included coronavirus restrictions and national lockdowns, yet domestic abuse rose by 6% nationally.
Home Office data shows 17,425 offences were recorded by Derbyshire Constabulary in 2020-21, making up 23% of all offences recorded that year.
That is the equivalent of 16 for every 1,000 people in the area, up from 15 the previous year.
And the area has seen a 187% rise in domestic abuse offences since 6,077 were logged in 2015-16, when records began.
The data shows women are disproportionately more likely to experience abuse and they have accounted for more than three-quarters of those killed in domestic homicides since 2018 nationally – four women were killed in Derbyshire in that time.
Farah Nazeer, chief executive of Women's Aid, said to tackle domestic abuse, society must work together to tackle the "inherent sexism and misogyny which underpin women's inequality and violence against them".
She said: "Women will not report domestic abuse if they aren’t confident they will be believed and action will be taken on their behalf.”
The figures suggest most cases of domestic abuse will not see perpetrators charged, with just 8% of cases concluded nationally last year resulting in a charge or summons.
Ms Nazeer said work was needed to restore faith in policing after more than three quarters of investigations were dropped due to evidential difficulties nationally – more than half because the victim pulled out of the investigation.
The National Police Chiefs' Council lead for domestic abuse, assistant commissioner Louisa Rolfe, said the "complex and entrenched societal problem" was a policing priority and highlighted an increased number of victims reporting abuse in recent years.
A Home Office spokeswoman said the Government is committed to ending violence against women and girls, and said its landmark Domestic Abuse Act would improve victim support and strengthen legislation.
She said funding had been doubled for 2021-22 to £25 million in an effort to tackle perpetrators.