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Horrifying scale of Newham domestic violence

08:00 05 March 2014

Seven domestic abuse cases were reported to Newham police each day in the past year – and that is just the “tip of the iceberg”.

Jane Ishmael, manager of Newham Action Against Domestic Violence (NAADV), says the 2,606 cases reported to the police doesn’t reflect the true scale of the problem.

Her comments come as the Recorder can reveal that meetings between NAADV, the police and council departments to discuss medium and high risk cases have recently doubled to twice a month in order to deal with the case load, which sometimes stretches to 25 or 30 a month.

In one recent case a nurse had been repeatedly abused by her partner for several months without him leaving a mark. The next day he would tell her that nothing had happened. It was only when he left her with a black eye that she felt she had evidence.

Jane said: “For me, the worst is the ladies in their sixties or seventies. When they first got married it was completely acceptable and it is only when something truly horrific happens that they reach out for help.”

She says that although the police and the council are tougher on prosecution, the public is failing to report incidents and health workers do not feel comfortable talking to victims about domestic violence.

John Roch, acting Det Ch Insp at Newham Police, said tackling domestic violence was a key objective and encouraged victims to report it to them, an intermediary or third party so they can prosecute abusers.

A spokesman for Newham Council said: “We work closely with the police, health service and a range of groups such as Newham Action Against Domestic Violence to make people aware of the help that is available. We encourage people who see and hear domestic abuse to report it. No one has to suffer in silence.”

If you feel you are in immediate danger you should dial 999. Free and confidential support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the Newham One Stop Shop on 0845 451 2547.

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