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Are Domestic Abuse Cases on the Rise?

An overview of the scale of the issue

The police recorded 1,500,369 domestic abuse-related incidents and crimes in England and Wales in the year ending March 2022.  The number of domestic abuse-related crimes increased 7.7% compared to the previous year.  However, only around a fraction of domestic violence cases are thought to be reported so we really have no grasp on how high this number actually is.

Rawlins Davy Reeves (specialist division Jacobs and Reeves) is the only firm in Poole (and one of only three in the area) that takes Legal Aid cases in its family law department.  Around 90 per cent of our clients are women and a similar percentage are not married to their abusers.  The upward trend in cases is extremely worrying and we must not lose sight of this as a social issue.

Most clients do not seek mental health support unless they have been referred for the same, and most victims assume that they are not victims of domestic abuse if they have not been physically abused.

In the local area

In March 2022, Office for National Statistics figures show 9,477 domestic abuse-related crimes were recorded by Dorset Police in the year to March 2022 up from 9,159 the year before and the highest number since 2015-16, when comparable records began.

It meant there were 12.2 domestic abuse offences per 1,000 people in the area last year.

The government is undertaking a review of civil legal aid, which it says will seek to improve the long-term sustainability of legal aid work.  This must address the problem of remuneration if schemes like this are to work.  A scheme designed to ensure people representing themselves in court do not have to be questioned by their abuser is failing however due to lack of resources.

A confidential survey which seeks to find out residents’ lived experiences of domestic abuse across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, has been launched by BCP Council.

Feedback from this survey will inform the Council’s domestic abuse provision, making sure victims / survivors receive the support services they need to heal and recover.

  • For support and guidance, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline. Calls are free, in confidence and the line is open 24 hours a day 0808 2000 247.
  • You can contact Burcu at Rawlins Davy Reeves on 01202 674425 or at
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