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South Wales Police make domestic violence a priority

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Over two thousand people are at risk of harm in south Wales Credit: Press Association Images

South Wales Police say they are taking action on violence against women and girls with a plan published today by the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable.

Many women talked about going to hospital for emergency treatment several times before calling the police. The plan aims to strengthen links between emergency healthcare workers and the police to encourage women to report the crime at an earlier stage.

Domestic abuse accounts for over a third of all violent crimes handled by the force and over two thousand people are thought to be at high risk of serious harm or even murder. An average of six women a month are killed by a current or ex-partner in the UK.

Last week the police watchdog, the IPCC, severely criticised South Wales Police for it's handling of the attack on Charmaine Lewis. The report found the force did not treat the case with sufficient urgency and Charmaine and her children were put at 'serious risk'.

The new plan aims to increase the confidence of victims in reporting incidents to the police and to provide the best possible service to them when they do come forward.

Alun Michael, the PCC for South Wales, said "Change will not come about overnight because we need to reach a point where nobody in south Wales is prepared to tolerate violence against women and girls.

It's a police priority to help victims promptly and effectively but the real success will be in stopping abuse happening in the first place."

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Men reporting domestic abuse rises across Wales

The number of men reporting domestic abuse in Wales has increased over the last five years, according to an ITV News freedom of information request.

One man told ITV News: "I think there should be more recognition of the issue. There should be something that should be more widely known so there can be better access to support for men in that position."

Simon Borja from Safety Wales has also seen more people referred to his organisation in Cardiff:

Male domestic abuse instances rise in Wales

ITV News has discovered that the instances of male domestic abuse being reported to the police has gone up all over Wales in the last five years.

Using a freedom of information request, figures show the biggest increase in the last five years was in the North Wales Police area with an increase of 48.3%. The smallest rise was in the Dyfed Powys Police force area.

Instances of domestic abuse reported where the victim was a man 2008-13:

  • South Wales Police - 4.5% rise
  • North Wales Police - 48.3% rise
  • Gwent Police - 21.1% rise
  • Dyfed Powys Police - 0.3% rise

Experts say the rise is down to better reporting of instances and men feeling more confident about coming forward. One all Wales scheme which helps male victims says 2013 was its busiest year.

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