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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 August 2005, 05:53 GMT 06:53 UK
Drink blamed for home abuse rise
Woman holding her head in her hands
Domestic violence is said to be the least reported crime
A rise in domestic violence in south Wales has been blamed on drinking during hotter months.

Reports of abuse in the home increased by 6.5% in April, May and June, compared with the same period in 2004.

But officials said they were encouraged by a drop in repeat offences, which fell from almost one in three cases to one in eight, among the UK's lowest.

The figures come as a new service is launched in Cardiff to help gay and lesbian victims of domestic violence.

Experts said research showed that violence was at similar levels in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships.

We can't hide behind these terrible facts and are committed to helping reduce the number of domestic violence cases and repeat victimisation
Christopher Woolley, South Wales Criminal Justice Board

They said the new same-sex service was needed to deal with the specific needs of gay people, such as real or perceived worries about homophobia.

The figures for domestic violence in south Wales were released by the South Wales Criminal Justice Board.

Almost 4,200 people were victims during spring and early summer, compared with 3,957 in the same period in 2004.

Lesbian couple (generic picture)
A publicity campaign is promoting the lesbian and gay service

"It is a fact that with the hot weather the alcohol is flowing," said Christopher Woolley, chair of the board and chief crown prosecutor for south Wales.

"Alcohol affects people in different ways and some people become very violent.

"Most of the time it is behind closed doors when there is nobody else around, but we can't hide behind these terrible facts."

Sporting events

Research suggests that one in four women will at some time experience domestic violence, with sporting events and drink factors in half of all cases.

Domestic violence is also said to be the crime least likely to be reported. It is estimated that a woman will typically suffer 35 incidents before telling police.

South Wales Police have officers specifically trained in gay and lesbian issues, including hate crime reporting
Jane Lalljee, Cardiff-Wales Lesbian and Gay Mardi Gras

Mr Woolley said that, because the Crown Prosecution Service relied on witnesses giving evidence, it concentrated on "empowering victims so more will come forward".

Meanwhile, the new strategy for people in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender relationships is being funded by the Cardiff Community Safety Partnership.

It will build on work carried out by the Cardiff Women's Safety Unit, and the Dyn Project (for men).

James Rowlands, of the Dyn Project, said it was known that one in four members of these communities would experience domestic abuse at some point.

A publicity campaign is being used to promote the scheme, which will peak at the Cardiff-Wales Lesbian and Gay Mardi Gras on 10 September.

Jane Lalljee, co-chair of the Mardi Gras committee, said: "South Wales Police, who have a big presence on site this year with a mobile police station, have officers specifically trained in gay and lesbian issues including hate crime reporting.

"We hope that Mardi Gras and the Dyn Project and Women's Safety Unit can raise awareness of all the issues involved in reporting crimes of this nature."

The National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 80 10 800.

The Dyn Project: 029 2022 6622.

The Women's Safety Unit: 029 2022 2022.

Broken Rainbow, a UK helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people: 020 8539 9507.




SEE ALSO:
Domestic abusers face crackdown
03 Dec 03 |  UK Politics
Police tackle homophobic hate crimes
11 Apr 03 |  Oxfordshire


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