Abuse toll on the rise in the borough

Domestic abuse crimes are on the rise in Wigan
Domestic abuse crimes are on the rise in Wigan
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Domestic abuse crimes in Wigan have soared by 40 per cent year-on-year, according to the latest figures.

But council and police bosses say the leap can be attributed to “tighter recording and investigation processes”, triggered by the Home Office.

Household violence classified as “crimes” were recorded as 1,940 for 2015-16 but this had risen to 2,735 for 2016-17.

Police say the number of overall incidents had only slightly increased from 7,062 to 7,172, for the same period.

The figures have emerged as part of the annual report for Wigan’s safeguarding adults board.

Dr Paul Kingston, board chairman, said: “The changes ensured all incidents must be recorded as a crime and then downgraded to an incident, rather than the other way around.

“This was to ensure victims were accorded the necessary investigation and to improve on the overall force’s conversion of crimes to incidents, through that investigation.”

Councillors have been told a new approach to tackling domestic violence in Wigan is in its infancy, using a multi-agency hub.

Members of the borough’s health and wellbeing board have also heard that an Independent Violence Advocate Service has been operating at Wigan Infirmary, with a full-time worker available on a daily basis to enable victims to make early disclosures regarding incidents.

Coun Nazia Rehman, the borough’s lead member for community and family safety, said at the hub launch: “We offer every single domestic abuse victim face-to-face support but we know that often domestic abuse is not in isolation from other difficult issues affecting that relationship.

“It could be debt issues, drug and alcohol, mental health support or other matters which are the underlying causes. That is where the new victim hub can contribute to supporting families in tackling the root causes of the abuse.”