Domestic abuse accounts for one in five crimes recorded by Wiltshire Police according to figures released today by the Office of National Statistics.
The statistics cover the 12 months from the first introduction of lockdown restrictions to March 2021.
In a year where victims were trapped at home with their abusers the Force recorded a total of 14,237 domestic abuse-related incidents and crimes
This is equivalent to 20 incidents and crimes for every 1,000 people who live in the county and a 9 percent increase on the previous year which saw 13,082 incidents and crimes.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson said: “Whilst these statistics highlight the prevalence of domestic abuse in our county, I’m still not convinced they are a true reflection of how horrifying the situation really is.
“It is difficult enough for victims and survivors of domestic abuse to report, but this was compounded by the various lockdown restrictions meaning there will have been many more victims suffering in silence.
“That is why it’s so important to look past the statistics and my Police and Crime Plan will set a clear direction and bring together my office, Wiltshire Police and key partners to ensure that people in Wiltshire feel safe in addition to actually being safe.
“At the heart of the work my office delivers is the commissioning of specialist support services for the victims affected by crimes, and that includes victims who report to the police, and those who don’t.”
The figures also show that demand for victim support has jumped; nationally during this period, calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline increased by 22%.
In Wiltshire, we are actively tackling that increase in demand. Earlier this year, Wiltshire's OPCC secured additional funding for seven additional Independent Domestic Violence Advisors to support victims.
Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service, and Splitz Support Service, both jointly commissioned by the OPCC and local authorities, will benefit from these additional posts and support all victims regardless of their gender.
‘We are very aware that these statistics are only a snapshot of the bigger picture of domestic abuse. There are many barriers that prevent victims from coming forward and often the fear of leaving is greater that the fear of remining with their abuser.
“Our aim is to ensure that we are raising wider awareness of the support available and that we have the resources and funds to support victims and their families when they are ready to take the next steps.” Added Charlotte Gibbon from Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service.
Those with concerns about domestic abuse are encouraged to contact police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, people in Swindon can contact Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service by calling 01793 610610 and those in Wiltshire can contact the Splitz Support Service on 01225 775276.