EVERYONE has a right to feel safe in their home. But sadly, that is not always the case.

Figures have shown domestic abuse has more than doubled in Essex over the past six years – and tens of thousands of crimes were recorded during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.

Home Office figures show 29,645 offences were recorded by Essex Police in 2020-21, making up 20 per cent of all crimes recorded that year.

That is the equivalent of 16 for every 1,000 people in the area, the same rate as in the previous year.

But the area has seen a 132 per cent rise in domestic abuse offences since 12,780 were logged in 2015-16, when records began.

Nearly 850,000 such crimes were reported to police across England and Wales last year.
And as shocking as the figures are, that is merely “the tip of the iceberg”, according to the charity Women’s Aid.

Rates for many other crimes dropped during a year which included coronavirus restrictions and national lockdowns, but domestic abuse rose six per cent nationally.

Women are disproportionately more likely to experience abuse and account for more than three-quarters of those killed in domestic homicides since 2018 nationally.

Eleven women were killed in Essex in that time.

Farah Nazeer, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said to tackle domestic abuse, society must work together against the “inherent sexism and misogyny which underpin women’s inequality and violence against them”.

She said: “Women will not report domestic abuse if they aren’t confident they will be believed and action will be taken on their behalf.”

Just eight per cent of domestic abuse cases concluded nationally last year resulting in a charge or summons.

Ms Nazeer said work was needed to restore faith in policing after more than three quarters of investigations were dropped due to difficulties with evidence.

More than half of these cases were dropped because the victim pulled out of the investigation.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for domestic abuse, assistant commissioner Louisa Rolfe, said the “complex and entrenched societal problem” was a policing priority and she highlighted an increase in victims reporting abuse in recent years.

She said forces could still pursue cases to keep victims safe, even when they are reluctant to support prosecution.

She added arresting offenders was a temporary respite from the problem.