April 6, 2022 9.00 pm

More domestic abuse victims reaching out in Lincolnshire following high-profile cases

Reducing abuse is “generational change”

More victims of domestic abuse in Lincolnshire are reaching out for help following a series of high profile cases and initiatives both nationally and locally.

According to the latest figures from the Lincolnshire Domestic Abuse Partnership, more than 10,000 incidents are reported to Lincolnshire Police every year.

Year-on-year officers have seen a slight rise in police incidents, but not as many as they expected, however, with many referrals instead seeming to go through charities such as Eden Lincs outreach service.

It means there’s a greater reliance on early intervention and therefore fewer incidents are having to reach the need for police intervention.

“All the publicity around the Domestic Abuse act, and through Sarah Everard and the Everyone’s Invited scheme – all that has generated more victims coming forward,” said Martyn Parker, assistant director of Public Protection at Lincolnshire County Council.

“Our referrals have gone up through Edan Lincs which is a good sign because it means more people are reaching out for help, which is great, and our police incidents have stayed relatively static which is also a good sign because it means there’s not more victims or perpetrators going through the justice system.”

There have recently been high profile cases locally including Daniel Boulton who was jailed for a minimum of 40 years after murdering his ex-girlfriend and her nine year old son.

Meanwhile, mum-of-two Charlie Stevenson was jailed for nine years after killing her partner with a single stab wound to the heart.

The murder of Sarah Everard my a Metropolitan Police officer in March 2021 brought the issue into the spotlight again last year.

Meanwhile, recent high profile news stories have included the arrest of Manchester United star Mason Greenwood on suspicion of rape, assault, sexual assault and threats to kill.

“Publicity does bring it in [to focus] and its a shame because it’s kind of the whole high profile murders or high profile celebrities… they do raise that fear of domestic abuse, but it also empowers more people to come forward as well because they see what the responses are.”

Jade Thirsby, LCC’s Domestic Abuse Business Manager added that there had also been a “real national push” by the government around recognising the impact of domestic abuse on victims.

She looked to reassure people around the figures, adding: “Whilst any level level of domestic abuse is not what we want to see, we haven’t seen a significant increase in terms of incidences within our county, what we have seen is an increase in people actually reaching out to get that support.”

“We have the Domestic Abuse partnership with every single partner sat around that table making a commitment to the services that support victims.

“Any figure is big and we don’t want to see it, but we are working really hard, obviously to support and put the right package is in place for Lincolnshire people.”

In January, the partnership released its Domestic Abuse Strategy which focussed on early intervention and working with perpetrators as well as victims.

“It’s always going to be our aim to reduce or, totally eradicate domestic abuse. That’s something that as a partnership, we’re always aiming towards, I think there’s a number of early intervention initiatives that we have in place to try and obviously support that,” said Jade.

Systems in place to protect children include police notification systems in education establishments and training on how to support young people who are present when domestic abuse incidents take place in front of them.

However, the partnership acknowledges the process to tackle issues won’t be immediate.

“This is a generational change, we’re putting layers in place and support in place to change culturally how domestic abuse is viewed and how early we need to intervene in domestic abuse for the long game,” said Martyn.

“It’s a huge aspiration and one that’s going to be very challenging which is why early intervention is really important.”

Bosses said their key message was that services are in place for domestic abuse victims, and incidents were taken “very seriously”.

“If you are concerned worried about yourself about somebody else within your family, friends, then obviously, they please do access those services they are there for for the support of victims,” said Jade.

For more information on domestic abuse, how to spot the signs and how to get support visit https://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/crime-prevention/domestic-abuse

EDAN Lincs Domestic Abuse Service can be reached on 01522 510041  between 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.

The National Domestic Abuse Help line, a 24 hour free phone helpline, can also be called on 0808 2000 247.