Domestic abuse on the increase

David Ian Guest
David Ian Guest

A VICTIM of domestic abuse whose case has highlighted a worrying increase in the problem has spoken out about her nightmare experience. Penelope Lonsdale has had to move house three times to escape the attentions of a man who admitted repeatedly breaking a court order which banned him from contacting her.

Having fled from the “controlling and abusive” relationship, she told the judge who jailed David Ian Guest: “I’ve been through hell because of how David has treated me but I feel I’ve turned a corner and feel empowered because he no longer has control over me.

“He is violent and unpredictable and poses a danger to me and my child.”

Last year an average of 18 incidents were being reported in the borough every day and figures show the problem is getting worse.

Next month an independent report on the blight of partner abuse is to go before Doncaster Council.

Last year in Doncaster the total number of domestic violence incidents reached a shocking 6,523 - an average of 543 a month.

Unfortunately, the trend this year is still on the up - in the first two months of this year they are showing an increase of 96 incidents against the same period last year.

This is reflected across South Yorkshire, which is showing an overall increase of 16.6 per cent.

Last year South Yorkshire Police dealt with more than 24,000 incidents, some of them involving same sex abuse.

Domestic violence workers say there are a number of reasons for the increase, one of them being more awareness in reporting the problem.

Coun Cynthia Ransome, Doncaster Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “Reported domestic violence has been increasing consistently for the last several years, and through the work of the Safer Doncaster Partnership, we have recently commissioned an independent review of our services that is due to be published shortly to make sure we are working in the most effective way to meet domestic violence case needs.

“I would encourage anyone suffering from domestic violence, which includes all types of physical, emotional, sexual, financial and psychological abuse, to report it to the police.

“Free and confidential advice and practical support is available by phoning the helpline on 01302 326411.”