Every year in Hampshire there are more than 30,000 reports of domestic abuse, making it the largest reported crime in the county. Official statistics show that domestic abuse accounts for 15% of all recorded crime nationally and affects nearly 2 million people each year. These numbers are stubbornly high, and we know that they are also the tip of the iceberg, because the true figures are concealed by chronic underreporting.
I was alarmed to see an unexplained fall in number of deomestic abuse cases reported to the local police. There is no evidence that Basingstoke is bucking national trends, so I am concerned that this change is likely to be explained by a decline in the reporting of domestic abuse incidents. This is backed up by a recent survey conducted by the Borough Council; when asked, over half of Basingstoke residents said they would not know where to seek support if they were experiencing domestic abuse.
Over the next 6 weeks, I am working with local charities, businesses, schools, community groups, the police, and many others who already do so much to support victims, to raise awareness of the different forms of domestic abuse, the many different people it can affect, and the ways victims in Basingstoke can get help. Acknowledging the importance of dealing with the root causes of domestic abuse, I will also signpost the support available to perpetrators.
All of us have a responsibility to end domestic abuse. Let’s make a start this summer. #SaferSummer #SaferCommunities