Domestic violence has risen dramatically in London in the past seven years, figures show, prompting concern about the hidden problem of “widespread sexual violence” in the capital.
It comes as the mayor Sadiq Khan announces an extra £15m of funding into services, saying cuts had left them at “breaking point”.
Data shows there was a 63% increase in domestic abuse offences between 2011 and 2018. In the year ending March 2011 there were 48,422 domestic abuse offences recorded by the Metropolitan police compared with 78,814 up to the same point in 2018.
The figures were in published in a report released by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime. They showed that in the past year three-quarters of victims were female and that victims were more likely to live in more deprived areas. Earlier in the month it was revealed that in 2018 the number of killings in London linked to domestic abuse trebled from nine to 29 in a year.
Joan Smith, the chair of London’s Violence Against Women and Girls board, said: “The public has yet to realise how widespread sexual violence is.”
Khan, said he was “appalled” by the findings. He added: “The number of people killed by someone they knew in our city is shocking … Support services in the capital do an amazing job, but the funding situation has left them at breaking point. Victims, some of the most vulnerable people in our #society, are often having to wait a long time for help.”
On Wednesday, Khan announced that he would invest an extra £15m to help victims of domestic violence. The money will come from business rates – a tax on property used for business purposes – and will be channeled into support services for victims.
Figures show that while in 2017 demand for #women’s services rose by 83%, funding fell by 50%. In London, while 15% of all recorded sexual offences take place in the capital, only 6% of government funding comes to London, leaving services at crisis point, according to the report.
Khan wrote to the home secretary, Sajid Javid, this week, asking the government to play its part and reverse the huge cuts the sector is struggling with, as well as properly fund the police.
The report estimated that 246,700 adults aged 16 to 59 years who live in London experienced any form of domestic abuse, equating to 4 in 100 people. Women were more likely to have experienced domestic abuse than men (5.9% compared with 2.9%).
“Violence against women and girls continues to affect thousands of us across London and we need urgent, widespread change at every level. This can only happen if this becomes a priority for enough of us,” said Marai Larasi, the executive director of Imkaan, a black and minority ethnic women’s organisation working to respond to and prevent violence against marginalised women and girls in Europe.
She welcomed the mayor’s announcement about additional funding, a sentiment echoed by Sarah Green, co-director at the End Violence Against Women coalition, who said: “We hope Sadiq’s renewed commitment to ensuring support and protection for abuse survivors, and tackling perpetrators, will make our city one of the best places to grow up as a girl, and live as a woman, in the world.”
Last year government statistics revealed that domestic violence victims are waiting almost two years on average to receive compensation for abuse they have suffered. The Ministry of Justicesaid its most recent statistics showed that it took an average of 612 days, or about 20 months, for a payout from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.