Bad weather now blamed for rise in domestic violence

Sgt Turner told the councillors: “Some of the increase is down to domestic
violence cases. We have seen a spike with the additional housing and bad
weather.

“People get cabin fever locked in a house together. Domestic violence is
not just in one place, it would surprise you where it happens – it’s right
across the spectrum.”

However, he said the bad weather may also have helped a decline in overall
crime which fell from 526 to 427 over the same period.

Offences such as criminal damage and anti-social behaviour were particularly
affected, the officer suggested.

Yesterday, Detective Inspector John Trott said that in the previous 24 hours
alone there had been 75 domestic abuse incidents recorded across the whole
of Devon and Cornwall.

The area was hit by heavy rain in recent days.

But councillor Stuart Hughes, chairman of Sidmouth Town Council, doubted the
comments.

“It seemed a strange thing to blame a rise in domestic violence on the
weather.

“I know the weather gets blamed for a lot of things but this is a new one on
me.

“I would question whether that is the case.”

He said the danger was police may not look to see what other causes there are
for domestic abuse.

“It is worrying because we should be doing everything we can to stop domestic
violence,” he added.

Hugo Swire, the Conservative MP for the area, said: “All I will say is that
crime overall in east Devon is extraordinarily low and for anyone who wants
to come, the weather is always fantastic.”

Earlier this year, Devon and Cornwall police said they would take tough action
on any football fans who vented their frustration on partners during the
European championships.

The warning came after the force said incidents of domestic abuse increased by
almost 30 per cent on England match days during the 2010 World Cup.

Under proposals unveiled by the Government last month, men who bully their
wives will be prosecuted for domestic abuse.

The move will mean that domineering men who torment their partners but do not
assault them physically can be brought to justice for the first time.

Verbal insults, taking control of a spouse’s finances or isolating them from
family and friends could all count as domestic abuse under the new
definition.

Under – 18s will also face prosecution following concerns about the number of
abusive teenage relationships.

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