MORE than 200 reports of domestic abuse cases lodged by Barnsley residents to South Yorkshire Police in a three-month period were deemed to be high risk by investigating officers.

The town’s rates are higher than the county average, it was revealed this week, with 1,434 reports between April and June 2022.

A total of 227 were recorded as high risk - 16.1 per cent - and arrest rates stood at 88 per cent for cases judged to be urgent.

Officers in the town say there is a ‘genuine commitment’ to protect victims - and subsequently increase arrest and conviction rates.

A police statement said: “Barnsley has comparatively higher levels of domestic abuse-related incidents per 1,000 of population than elsewhere in the county.

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“Between April and June 2022 there have been 1,434 recorded domestic investigations, of which 1,232 involve a crime being committed.

“All reports of domestic abuse are risk assessed - of recorded domestic investigations between April to June 2022, 16.1 per cent (227 investigations) were assessed as high risk and 28.8 per cent (405 investigations) deemed to be medium risk.

“Barnsley district continues to demonstrate genuine commitment to protecting victims of abuse by proactively and promptly arresting offenders.

“One measure of this commitment is through the proportion of suspects who are arrested - the overall arrest rate for all reported domestic abuse crimes is 51.6 per cent, an increase from the previous quarter.”

Between November 2021 and January 2022, 69.4 per cent of reported domestic abuse incidents involved partners or ex-partners, the remainder being other family members.

Barnsley Council - having worked alongside police - committed to creating a new refuge for victims fleeing domestic abuse.

Approval is also being sought for the council to negotiate a change-of-use planning application of a property elsewhere - offering four units and backed by £588,000 in government accommodation support funding - which will act as a day support service.

The established refuge would then concentrate on offering a 24-hour ‘concierge-style’ service, although both would operate as female-only venues.

Research by the council also showed the prevalence of domestic abuse was not just seen in the ‘traditional’ scenario of heterosexual women fleeing abuse, but that there are a significant number of men and LGBT victims in Barnsley.

“There’s an increasing number of victims of domestic abuse who have multiple and complex needs requiring safe accommodation, and for whom the current delivery model of the refuge is not adequate and does not meet the range of need,” a council statement added.

“We propose to expand the offer by securing a registered housing provider and property management to purchase, on the council’s behalf, additional properties across the borough to achieve a variety of accommodation facilities.

“This will offer one and two-bedded properties.”