Every Two Hours - ... Another Cry for Help; Shock Figures Reveal City to Be Worst in the Region for Domestic Violence
Byline: Sam Dimmer Crime Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
POLICE deal with a domestic violence attack in Coventry every two hours - and the true figure could be much worse.
The harrowing statistics show that Coventry is the worst in the West Midlands for domestic abuse, with nearly twice as many incidents as Wolverhampton and Walsall.
Experts suggest that just 30 per cent of domestic violence victims talk to the police about what they are going through meaning the real figure could be much higher.
Coventry Haven, which has a base near Coventry city centre, sees about 800 women every year.
Their 17 refuge beds are consistently full of women and children fleeing violence - and almost every one has been the victim of repeated assaults.
Elaine Yates, chief officer at Coventry Haven, said domestic violence was a "huge issue" for the city.
"The number of women we are seeing over the age of 50 is increasing," she said. "They don't think domestic violence applies to them, they think it's something that happens to young girls. They think it doesn't happen to them but they go on to describe physical abuse, coercion, financial abuse.
"They don't want to leave their homes and go to a refuge. But we can still help them, and we do. We're also seeing increasing numbers of young Asian women fleeing honour violence and forced marriages.
"Our refuge is almost always full. If a unit has been empty for a couple of hours it's usually being cleaned and has someone new in it."
Since the death of Daniel Pelka - whose mother and partner were in an abusive relationship that saw police repeatedly called out - there has been an increased focus on tackling domestic violence in Coventry.
Coventry Haven and two other groups offer support locally, while the police, council and other bodies are also heavily involved.
In the West Midlands the conviction rate is nearly 10 per cent - one of the highest in the West Midlands.
A spokesman for Coventry City Council said the high domestic violence figure maybe down to victims having more confi-dence to speak up.
"This is on everybody's radar," she said. "We are not frightened of doing something about it.
"We know that the figures for domestic violence in Coventry are unacceptable. This is a big priority for us and maybe the figure is so high because we have been so public about it. …