North Norfolk sees 'concerning' rise in violence and sex offences
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Recent years have seen a disturbing rise in the number of violent and sex offences in north Norfolk - and even our smallest communities have not been spared.
According to the figures from police.uk, which publishes Home Office data, there were 2,865 violent and sexual crimes reported across the district in 2021 - a 19pc increase on the previous year, when the figure was 2,407.
The total has been rising each year since 2015, when the number of such crimes in north Norfolk was 1,213.
Superintendent Nathan Clark, district commander for North Norfolk and Great Yarmouth, said addressing the rise was a priority.
Supt Clark said: “We continue to invest heavily in tackling violent and sexual crime and are currently working with partners across Norfolk in supporting the government’s national ‘Enough’ to violence against women and girls campaign.”
Violence and sexual offences cover 57 separate crimes ranging from murder and rape to death by dangerous driving and modern slavery.
But Norfolk police said a large proportion of the rise was associated with ‘behind closed doors’ crimes like domestic violence.
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A police spokesperson said: “We have a seen a rise in violence with injury offences and sexual offences across the county.
"While this rise was anticipated in association with the national lockdowns during the pandemic, it is concerning and we’re working hard to address by ensuring high quality investigations, addressing perpetrators’ behaviours directly and educating police officers around domestic abuse and areas such as coercive control.”
One of the wards which saw the biggest increase of violent and sex offences in Norfolk was Erpingham, where the number rose from seven in 2015 to 45 in 2021 - a 543pc rise.
Every Norfolk council area has also seen a rise in violence and sexual offences apart from Broadland.
In that district such crimes fell in 2021 by 106 on the total of 3,300 in 2020. But that was still 1,272 more than the average since 2017.
Domestic abuse now makes up one in four of all crimes investigated by Norfolk police.
Mandy Proctor, chief executive of Leeway, which supports abuse victims, said: “It is no surprise to see an increase in the number of violent offences being recorded, especially incidences of domestic abuse.
“During the pandemic, we saw increases in the number of people that came forward to access support, especially with the instruction to stay at home escalating the abuse that many experienced.”
Domestic abuse: Out of the shadows
Sarah Nightingale-Socolova is assistant project manager from the One to One Project, which provides support for adults experiencing emotional, social or and mental health difficulties in north and west Norfolk.
She said it was hoped that a greater awareness of the scale of domestic abuse would lead to more victims coming forward.
She said: "Domestic abuse is indeed on the rise with an increase in reported cases, however it is hoped that with bringing a greater awareness of support services available to assist and empower victims and survivors of domestic abuse, the subject will become less of a taboo, hopefully encouraging more victims and survivors to come forward and seek much needed support."
For more details on the One to One Project, visit www.onetooneproject.com or call them on 01553 770770.