City's Shame Exposed by Shock Report; Domestic Violence Victims on Tyneside Have Been Set on Fire, Tied Up, Starved and Beaten Up

Article excerpt

THEY are the hate-filled files of domestic abuse that would shock anyone - and they form the day-to-day reality of city care workers.

From women set on fire to those tied up, starved and beaten, the Chronicle today reveals Tyneside's shameful record of attacks.

And it is not just women who are suffering, with one man speaking out about his fiancee's violent attacks.

The revelations come as Newcastle City Council reveals the growing problem is already costing taxpayers more than pounds 30m a year.

It sees more 'high risk' victims of domestic violence than neighbouring councils, with an average of 50 cases each month, up from 30 in 2007.

Victims seen by city officials have been set on fire, burned with cigarettes, tied up, starved, beaten, forced to have sex with partners' associates, made to marry men who have raped them and repeatedly kicked while pregnant until they miscarried.

The council revealed the facts in a new report, Tackling Domestic Violence, which is to be discussed by its policy cabinet later this month.

Deputy leader Joyce McCarty, who also chairs the authority's Domestic Violence Working Group, said: "The impact of domestic violence in terms of human misery and cost to public services cannot be over estimated.

"It is very much a private crime which cuts across all social strata, often going unreported because victims may not feel it is a matter for the police.

"Our message is loud and clear. Domestic violence is very much a police matter and victims should never hesitate to contact the police to report this crime which in families also has a devastating impact on children.

"As a city council, we are determined to do everything that we can with our partners such as Northumbria Police to support and protect victims of domestic violence and bring perpetrators to justice."

Nationally, research indicates only 24% of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police.

In Newcastle, there was a fall in the number of reports to the police and the number of crimes recorded between 2009/10 and 2011/12, with 453 domestic abuse incidents in April 2012 compared to 508 in October 2011. Certain areas of the city see more domestic violence, with Byker and Elswick two of the most vulnerable. …

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