Crime commissioner offers extra help for domestic abuse victims

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EXTRA staff will be brought in to help victims of domestic and sexual violence in South Yorkshire in a bid to make sure their abusers face justice in court.

Police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright says there is currently a shortfall of up to ten domestic violence and sexual violence advocates in the county and has promised an extra investment of funds.

Advocates are seen as crucial in supporting victims after they have come forward and making sure they are willing to give evidence if their attacker is prosecuted. He will add to the 23 staff who currently provide support to victims and alert them to available services after they report an offence.

Mr Wright said: “They will attend meetings the victim has with police, they will provide that support and hold their hand through the whole process. What often happens is that by the time they reach court they will withdraw their evidence and the case will fall.”

South Yorkshire has seen a big rise in the number of violent and sexual offences reported to police in the last year, which Mr Wright says is mostly down to victims feeling more confident about coming forward.

Though overall crime fell, a total of 8,135 violence with injury offences were recorded in the year to March 31, up from 7,231 for the same period 12 months ago. ‘Violence without injury’ offences also increased.

Mr Wright said: “We have seen more than average increases in South Yorkshire and we see that as a positive rather than a negative.”