DOMESTIC violence rates have spiked by 14 per cent in Bexley, research has revealed.

The data has revealed an increase of six per cent across London in general but in certain boroughs there is a particularly alarming rise.

The figures from the London Probation Trust – covering September 2012 to September 2013 – revealed an increase out of 25 of the 32 boroughs surveyed.

Reported incidents rose by 12 per cent in Lewisham and almost 20 per cent in Barnet, Enfield, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets.

London Probation Trust’s women’s safety officer Deborah Pearce, who works in Bexley and Bromley, said: “I have noticed in the 13 years I’ve been doing this job, the women coming to me are younger.

“The increase might be to do with greater awareness although we still need to do more.

“We still need to do more to make people realise what they are experiencing in a relationship is not normal.”

Women’s Aid chief executive Polly Neate believes the increase in reported violence might be due to more proactive policing.

She said: “One reason Bexley and Lewisham might have seen this increase would be if police officers in the area are focussing more on domestic violence, and taking a more proactive approach to domestic violence callouts.”

“Domestic violence affects people from all walks of life, and women of all ethnicities, social classes, and ages experience it.

“It’s very hard to measure rates of domestic violence, as many incidents aren’t reported to police and sometimes the police won’t record instances that are reported as domestic violence.

“Young women are particularly at risk, particularly between the ages of 16 and 24.”

Refuge’s chief executive Sandra Horley believes the data does not reveal the full extent of the issue.

She said: “Domestic violence thrives on secrecy, so no one knows its true extent. 

“But these figures show that more women in London are coming forward and reporting domestic violence to the police.  This is a good thing. “

The research was released to promote White Ribbon Day (25 November) which marked the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

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