BARNSLEY has higher levels of domestic abuse-related incidents than anywhere else in the county, according to new data.

In the year up to June, 1,434 investigations were launched in the town, of which 1,232 involved a crime being committed.

Almost a fifth of those cases were deemed ‘high risk’ by police, according to Office for National Statistics data, while almost a third were classed as ‘medium’.

The average arrest rate stands at 51.6 per cent, but for cases classed as ‘high risk’ - where a household has previous issues with domestic abuse - this rises to 88 per cent.

Almost three-quarters of reported domestic abuse incidents involved partners or ex-partners, while the remainder were other family members.

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A statement of ‘intent’ has been adopted by police in Barnsley in an attempt to stamp out cases of violence committed against females across the borough - which has resulted in more officers being tasked with dealing with growing issues.

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

“The 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 of 1 per cent from the previous quarter.

“The arrest rates for domestic abuse are also examined in respect of the level of risk to the victim.

“Arrests in the last quarter for high-risk cases was 88 per cent, but every high-risk case where an arrest is not recorded is examined.

“It is notable that the Home Office definition of a domestic abuse incident and crime has now been put onto a statutory footing following the implementation of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

“This means that the relevant relationships included within the definition have been widened to include a broader range of extended family members.”

In South Yorkshire as a whole, 2,430 annual cases led to 1,581 charges, meaning the charge rate rose from 53 per cent in 2020/21 to 65 per cent last year.

Anti-domestic violence charity Refuge said women and girls face an ‘epidemic of violence’ and called on the government to prioritise bringing perpetrators to justice and protecting victims.

Chief executive Ruth Davison added: “The figures restate the importance of Refuge’s calls for improved mandatory training for all criminal justice professionals so they recognise the seriousness of domestic abuse, and can respond in an appropriate, trauma-informed way.

“Now is the time to prioritise bringing perpetrators to justice.”