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Fifth of police reports during first lockdown involved domestic abuse

DOMESTIC abuse was involved in a fifth of offences recorded by police during and immediately after the first national lockdown in England and Wales, new figures released today show.

More than a quarter of a million incidents were flagged as domestic abuse when reported to police over March to June, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The 259,324 offences represent a rise of 7 per cent from the same period last year, and an 18 per cent rise from two years ago.

The ONS said that the number of offences involving domestic abuse has been increasing over recent years, so it cannot be determined whether the pandemic directly caused the rise.

Helen Ross, from the ONS’s Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “Data suggests that experiences of domestic abuse may have intensified during the lockdown and that victims faced difficulties in safely seeking support under these conditions.”

Labour called on the government to outline its plan to protect victims and provide longer-term funding. 

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “The UK government must do more to provide the sustainable support these vital services need. It is crucial that if someone is able to take the step of reaching out for help, they are not turned away.”

Despite a 9 per cent increase in recorded crimes in the year ending March 2020, referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service for charging fell by 19 per cent, the ONS said.

Shadow solicitor general Ellie Reeves urged the CPS to “urgently identify the causes” of low prosecution levels and “ act swiftly to reverse this worrying trend.”

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