140 domestic violence reports per month

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MORE than 140 reports of domestic violence are made in Wigan each MONTH, shocking new figures reveal.

Police released the statistics in the wake of launching Claire’s Law, which allows women to find out if their partner has a violent past.

Greater Manchester as a whole has seen an 11 per cent reduction in complaints of domestic abuse to officers in the four months between April and July this year compared with the same period in 2011.

There were 2,365 incidents recorded in Wigan during that time in 2011 but this has fallen to 2,323 during the same period this year.

But the numbers remain worryingly high and there are fears that many more victims are suffering in silence.

A total of 2,673 victim sought help in the region’s hospitals after being assaulted but experts believe say many hidden victims never seek medical help.

Women in Wigan are among the first in the country to benefit from a Home Office disclosure scheme based on Claire’s Law allowing them to find out if their partners have been convicted, arrested, or warned over violence at home.

The pilot is named in memory of Salford mum Claire Wood, who was killed in 2009 by an abusive ex-boyfriend.

Although all reports are investigated, officers say that only around 15,000 of the incidents are eventually logged as crimes, with victims often unwilling to make a complaint.

But police say there are fewer repeat attacks on victims and the number of prosecutions are steadily increasing.

Director of Wigan’s Drop In and Share (DIAS) group based in King Street, Maureen Burgess, was unavailable for comment.

But Det Supt Phil Owen from GMP’s public protection unit said that the force were now seeing some results from their prevention work.

He said: “We have been trying to decrease the number of repeat victims. We are trying to safeguard some of the known victims by working with partner agencies.

“Research says that a victim on average suffers 34 incidents of domestic abuse before they pick up a telephone and phone police or another agency.

“The definition of abuse is now wide-ranging. It isn’t just physical violence or threats but can include coercive control: taking control of someone’s bank account or mobile phone.”

Although abuse can take place around the year, police say major sporting events and holidays are often flashpoints.

Det Supt Owen said: “We have carried out a lot of preventative work during Euro championships, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and other major events.

“We have seen an increase in reports when there is a storyline on a soap. When rape has featured in Coronation Street or on Emmerdale, the reports have increased.”