'While it may be nothing, what if it's not?' - 3,000 domestic abuse crimes logged in three months
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An alarming increase in domestic abuse cases saw more than 3,000 crimes logged with police in Cambridgeshire at the start of this year.
The force recorded a total of 3,026 'domestic' incidents from December 2020 to February 2021.
It was an increase of more than 100 cases in the same time period as the year before – when 2,904 crimes were recorded.
The stark reality of this can be seen from various stories across media outlets in the county too.
Headlines such as ‘Man repeatedly kicked ex-partner in face’ and ‘Attack on partner during violent rampage’ show the sickening extent of these crimes.
St Catharine's College at Cambridge University even used empty rooms to give refuge to women escaping domestic abuse amid the pandemic.
During lockdown Cambridgeshire police stepped up their coverage on domestic abuse – urging neighbours to report any suspicious activity.
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Detective Sergeant Mark Little, said: "Sadly home is not always a place of safety and it is a heart-breaking reality that many victims will be suffering alone during lockdown.
"Domestic violence is a priority area for the force and we want those who are experiencing abuse to know that we remain here for them 24/7 and there are a number of discreet ways of contacting us when in need.
“We have a web-chat and online reporting facility and of course the there's the silent solution system where you can dial 999 followed by 55 if you're in an emergency and cannot speak.
"It's important we remember that victims can often feel trapped and powerless for many reasons and that's why we're urging concerned neighbours, friends and family members to report any concerns or suspicious activity to us.
“It's always better to be safe than sorry and while it may be nothing, what if it's not? Your call could help someone who is suffering escape a life of abuse.
"Our mission is simple, to protect victims and bring offenders to justice. We will not stop working tirelessly to tackle all forms of domestic abuse."
In December last year, the 16 Days of Action to End Domestic Violence campaign saw Cambs Police record 488 domestic abuse crimes and make 102 arrests.
More than 1000 domestic incidents – ranging from violence to abuse towards men and women – were recorded in May 2020 at the height of the first national lockdown.
It was a jump of nearly 200 compared to February 2020 before Covid-19 restrictions came into place.
Detective Superintendent John Massey explained that a “steady rise” in reports of domestic abuse had happened in Cambridgeshire from 2019.
He said: “The 16 Days campaign gave us an opportunity to highlight the support available for victims, the action we take against offenders and our total commitment to safeguarding those who need us.
"This ranged from education on schemes such as the Clare's Law Disclosure Scheme, to advice on how worried loved ones can help spot the signs of abuse.
"We will continue to work night and day to be there for victims and take robust action against perpetrators.”
Clare's Law, often known officially as a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme or similar, designates several ways for police officers to disclose a person's history of abusive behaviour to those who be at risk from such behaviour.
It is named after Clare Wood, a woman murdered in England by a former domestic partner who police knew to be dangerous.
Acting Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire, Ray Bisby, also showed his support for the police campaign.
He added: “While the Coronavirus health emergency continues to impact on all of us, for anyone experiencing domestic abuse, lockdown restrictions are particularly distressing. I want to reassure victims that support services are open and available throughout lockdown.
“There are lots of specialist services available locally to victims and their families which can be found at www.cambsvictimservices.co.uk but remember that the Victim and Witness Hub are on hand to provide support also.”