A NEW strategy to tackle the Isle of Wight's rising levels of domestic abuse is set to be launched.
During 2011/12, police were notified of 2,243 domestic incidents. Around 60 per cent of Island children on a Child Protection Plan have been affected by domestic abuse.
The Isle of Wight Council’s new three-year domestic violence strategy is aimed at preventing abuse through early intervention, running campaigns to educate young people, providing targeted support to high-risk victims and securing funds for specialist services.
A report to the council’s health and community wellbeing scrutiny panel said: "In the longer term, the only way to reduce domestic abuse will be to adopt a preventative agenda, which will include raising awareness of domestic abuse and its roots in gender inequality. This includes working with perpetrators and developing our work with schools to promote respectful relationships."
Between 2009/10 and 2010/11 there was an eight per cent increase in the numbers of domestic crimes reported to police, accounting for 27 per cent of all actual bodily harm cases on the Island.
The Isle of Wight Women’s Refuge received referrals for 401 women and 487 children during 2011, a 40 per cent increase on the previous year.
In 2010, there were 113 recorded incidents of rape or sexual assault.
But Cllr Ian Anderson, chairman of the council’s strategic domestic abuse form, said the figures did not necessarily mean abuse was increasing.
"Is it because it’s happening more, or because people are more confident about reporting it? I think more people are coming forward and saying it’s something they not prepared to put up," he said.