PERPETRATORS of domestic abuse in Barnsley will be targeted by specially-trained police officers as part of a no-nonsense stance outlined to safeguard victims.

Domestic violence protection notices (DVPNs) have been dished out in the town, which effectively prevents those responsible from contacting victims, although a police report reveals the breach rate remains high.

Fifty-four DVPNs were issued in Barnsley in 2018, resulting in a 25 per cent breach rate, but suspects were arrested on average in six out of ten cases compared with four in ten in 2016.

From April 2018 to March 2019, the overall victim satisfaction level in the town was 82 per cent and increased to 88 per cent for victims assessed as being at a high risk of domestic abuse.

Senior officers are confident that figure will continue to grow, outlining the prospect of increased prosecution levels even in cases where the victim does not want to support further police action.

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A police report said: “We continue to be fully committed to deal positively with domestic abuse and, since March 2017, we have steadily improved our conversion of reports to crimes from 40 per cent to 60 per cent in January this year.

“This is because our staff are recognising more domestic abuse crimes within initial reports and in turn more victims of crime are safeguarded and offered specialist support.

“We will look to gather evidence from other sources, even where a victim does not wish to support further police actions as often this can be through fear of the offender. Timely attendance to reports of domestic abuse is more likely to result in victims supporting police action.”

One area of improvement officers are now looking at is encouraging more male victims to come forward, but police in the town say they are committed to adopting the no-nonsense stance on those behind the abuse.

“By arresting offenders, we seek to maximise investigative opportunities quickly, while the suspect is in custody, with a view to charges being brought or where that is not possible using bail conditions or DVPNs to help protect victims,” the report added.

“Our use of DVPNs has accelerated. In the 12 months from April 2018 to March 2019, the courts granted 90 per cent of all our applications to help protect victims, which is encouraging, and the force has enforced breaches of those orders.

“To help improve our approach to domestic abuse, a number of victims are also independently contacted to assess their experiences with us and how satisfied they were with the service we provided.

“Our improving arrest rates for domestic abuse is now above the national 40 per cent mark and we will continue to improve this to bring more domestic abuse offenders to justice and protect victims.”