Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009

Domestic violence 'up by a third'

Incidents of domestic violence reported to police in East Sussex rose by a third over Christmas and New Year compared with the same time last year.

The county saw 648 incidents reported this year, compared with 479 in 2007/08, Sussex Police said.

This year, police responded to domestic violence calls in dedicated patrol cars equipped with video cameras to secure vital evidence.

Det Sgt Wendy Vodrey said that domestic violence was "always a priority".

Early attendance

She added: "Due to the regular increase in incidents over the Christmas and New Year period, it is vital we have adequate resources to manage and respond to the increased calls for urgent help."

She said: "Early attendance by police officers using video cameras increases the chance of gaining quality evidence, and not just relying on the victim's word against their abuser."

And she added: "This is only one of the domestic abuse initiatives currently being trialled and developed in Sussex to reduce abusive behaviour and make victims and their children safer."

Incidents in Brighton and Hove were up from 285 to 366 - an increase of 28%.

North Downs incidents rose from 236 to 328 - an increase of 39%.

West Downs division saw last year's figure of 238 increase to 287 - an increase of 20%.

And Gatwick had four incidents this year, compared with two in 2007/08.

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