Domestic abuse reports rise by 30%

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The ‘See it, hear it, report it’ initiative is encouraging Islanders to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the community.

Detective Superintendent Stewart Gull, head of Crime Services for the States police, said the force had been called about 51 incidents in the home so far this month – a rise from 36 for the same period last year.

Year-to-date reports of abuse are about 15% higher (60 more reports) than for the same period in 2019. The police launched a major campaign to encourage victims and the public to report abuse last autumn.

Elsewhere, the force has seen a rise in welfare and mental-health incidents, but a significant fall in missing-person cases involving young people.

Det Supt Gull said the force dealt with three cases over the Easter weekend. Normally, over a similar period, it could be three times that amount.

‘We have worked tirelessly on shining a light on domestic abuse because we know it’s underreported. So, please, don’t assume someone else will call us,’ the officer said.

‘We are urging family members, friends, neighbours to call someone. It doesn’t have to be the police, it could be Jersey Domestic Abuse Support or the new Children and Families Hub. But please tell someone.’

The new campaign spans agencies and government departments.

Children’s Minister Sam Mézec said Covid-19 was causing huge upheaval and changes to social circumstances.

‘This is a difficult time for everyone and we know that some children, young people and families in our community will struggle,’ he said.

‘It is a time of severe pressure across society, which we know will present heightened levels of risk for some children, young people and families, so it is especially important that they continue to receive the services and support they need.

‘It is imperative that we all work together to safeguard children, young people and their families.’

In the UK, Police Scotland has launched a campaign targeting sexual predators who groom children online, with internet use rising during the virus lockdown period.

Officers said the social-distancing restrictions prompted by coronavirus had created a ‘period of heightened risk’. The Scottish campaign has the tagline #GetHelpOrGetCaught and is targeted at men with a history of offending who could re-offend.

Statistics for sexual offence recidivism in Jersey remain low.

Det Supt Gull, vice-chairman of the Safeguarding Children’s Board, said that similar dangers may be increased in Jersey during the current period of restricted movement and he urged all Islanders to look out for young people.

Sarah Elliott, who chairs the Safeguarding Partnership Board, added: ‘Our message is clear to all victims young and old: you are not alone and you are not on your own. All the services throughout the Island are still working hard through the pandemic to support you and they will do their utmost to provide the protection and help that you need.’

Senator Mézec and Education Minster Tracey Vallois were due to take part in a live Q&A with Radio Youth FM last night. The station is run by young volunteers from the Jersey Youth Service.

Useful numbers:

  • States police (non-emergency) – 612612
  • Jersey Domestic Abuse Support – 880505
  • Children and Families Hub – 519000
  • Adult Safeguarding Partnership Board – 444440
  • Youth Enquiry Service – 08007350010
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