By Chris Young LDRS

Reports of domestic violence have risen during lockdown, with refuges regularly fully occupied as victims seek to escape their homes.
A new report looking at crime in the Bradford District was presented to members of Bradford Council’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee at a meeting on Thursday evening.
It shed light on how the Covid pandemic is effecting crime rates.

Although there were reductions in some crimes, such as serious sexual assault, there was a rise in domestic violence.
And noise complaints in the first few weeks of lockdown were up 70 per cent on the previous year.

The report of the Bradford Safer Communities Partnership shows that in the period immediately after lockdown was implemented in late March, there was a 6.7 per cent rise in domestic incidents reported to police than the period before lockdown.
There was an increase in the amount of children witnessing domestic violence, and an increase in the amount of domestic abuse incidents classed as high risk, an average of 87 per month since April in comparison to a 63 per month average for last year.

Refuges were also regularly full, with lockdown leaving domestic abuse victims few other options to escape abuse in their homes.
Since lockdown began Bradford’s refused had no vacancies 65 per cent of the time, and only had one vacancy 30 of the time.

Michael Churley, assistant area co-ordinator, said: “There is a concern people have been stuck in situations they haven’t been able to get out of.”

Councillor David Green (Lab, Wibsey) asked how refuges were coping financially.
Members were told that Bradford Council had allocated £900,000 to mitigate increased risks caused during the Covid pandemic from domestic abuse.

The partnership has been very active to secure government and grant funding available and over £850,000 has been received to support survivors of domestic and sexual abuse and their families in the Bradford district.
Members heard that despite lockdown, there had been an increase in anti-social behaviour compared to the previous year of 14.8 per cent.

The report said this was “largely down to significant increases in complaints about nuisance vehicles, motor cycles and quads.”

Mr Churley said the partnership was looking to invest more in CCTV to try to reduce anti social behaviour, as well as being more pro-active in speaking to victims.

The report said: “Lockdown and spending more time at home has led to a significant increase in the level of noise related complaints reported to Bradford Council’s Environmental Services – between April and June 2020 – a 70 per cent increase on the same period the previous year.”
“Of all environmental health incidents recorded between April 1 – June 30, 32 per cent of these were noise complaints, 30 per cent were domestic refuse related and 27 per cent were related to fly tipping.”