POLICE in Cumbria have recorded four deaths linked to domestic violence in the county since 2010, while thousands of people have been injured or harmed during assaults by their partners or spouses.

A further 278 people have been raped in an incident linked to domestic abuse, newly uncovered figures show, in addition to 162 sexual offences.

A joint investigation by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and CN Group found the county's force has dealt with 24,990 domestic violence incidents since 2008.

Increasing year on year, the call outs have been linked to a range of serious crimes such as homicide, drugs trafficking and violence with injury.
Victim: Melinda Korosi.

The most recent death was that of 33-year-old Carlisle mum of two Melinda Korosi who was brutally murdered by her ex-partner Miklos Veredes in September 2016.

On average, two women are killed by the spouse, partner or ex-partner every week in England and Wales.

The statistics reveal 8,677 people have been assaulted with injury in the last nine years, 174 were recorded as assault causing serious harm while assault without injury accounted for a further 7,070 incidents.

A total of 284 police officers were assaulted while attending a domestic violence incident.

Police files show there were 1,713 'damage to dwellings' cases and 648 damage to cars.

Police and crime commissioner Peter McCall said domestic violence was a crime that was found everywhere, not just cities or urban areas.

Peter McCall "Having spoken to people who deal with the victims of domestic violence, I know that many people put up with it because they have nowhere else to go, and we are largely talking about women.

"It happens in isolated rural areas just as much as urban areas.

"In some ways, the isolation makes it worse."

THE senior police officer in charge of tackling domestic violence in Cumbria has encouraged more victims to step forward as he talks of the increasingly sophisticated methods the force is using to bring perpetrators to justice.

Detective Inspector Dan St Quintin explained the issue is taken extremely seriously by the county's force in a bid to keep people safe from harm.

Body-worn cameras are now used by officers responding to incidents linked to domestic violence while the police now also deploy covert tactics when communicating with victims.

And addresses where a domestic violence incident has been recorded in the past are red flagged on the force computer system to ensure future calls receive priority and an urgent response.

DI Dan St Quintin. DI St Quintin said: "There are a range of measures we use in domestic violence incidents like special alerts on addresses and body worn cameras that mean we capture any verbal threats, comments or violence at the scene.

"We can also deal with things very subtly. We work with victims to get the outcome they want," he added.

Domestic violence is on the increase in Cumbria - accounting for 13 per cent of crime in the county last year, up from 11.4 per cent during the previous 12 months.

More than 100 people were warned by the force last year that their partner had a violent past under Claire's Law.

The force is now able to use new powers called domestic violence prevention notices which ban a perpetrator from going back to an address for 48 hours - even when no formal charges are to be brought.

A domestic violence order, authorised by the force superintendent, can remain in place for up to 28 days.

And for the county's high risk victims, a multi-agency risk assessment conference, or MARAC, takes place regularly where information about known cases are discussed and monitored.
Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

They are attended by police officers, social services, domestic abuse advisors and health and care representatives all attending to ensure everyone is aware if a situation is deteriorating and the victim is judged to be at risk of serious harm.

DI St Quintin added: "The meetings mean that we are always aware of ongoing high risk cases in Cumbria.

"Bringing all agencies together means that nothing is missed."

Bringing the perpetrators to justice - domestic violence criminals pursued through the courts

Sept 2017 - Controlling thug Jamie Loveday, 27, from Brentfield Way, Penrith, was jailed for nine and a half years following a vicious attack against his former partner Sophie Cutting.

Loveday was described as a 'dangerous offender' by police.

Aug 2017 - Jordan Michael Lowther, 21, of Greengate Lane, Kendal, was found guilty of breaching a restraining order banning him from contacting his former partner following a previous attack on her while she held their 10-month-old son.

June 2017 - Domineering abuser Thomas Allan, 33, from Millholme
John Thomas Allan Avenue, Currock, was jailed for ten years after slashing his partner with a knife and hitting her over the head with a vodka bottle.

May 2017 - 'Violent and unpredictable' Carl Ward, 25-year-old, of Abbotsmead Approach, Barrow, was jailed for six months after admitting breaching a restraining order for the sixth time.

His former partner said she had been left 'terrified and unable to sleep' following the ordeal.

Dec 2016 - knife-wielding bully Michael Carlton, 50, was banned from contacting his former partner for 15 years after threatening to slash her throat in a rage-fuelled attack at her Distington home.

The sentence was one of the longest restraining orders ever dished out by the courts in Cumbria.

Domestic violence towards men - one of the country's most under reported crimes

A LEADING academic states a third of all domestic violence victims are men.

University of Cumbria expert Dr Liz Bates is studying the issue in a bid to highlight the lack of support for men suffering abuse within relationships.

A new investigation reveals that while charges were brought against the perpetrators of violence towards 1,408 male victims in the county since 2008 - there are few if any services they can turn to for help.

The situation makes breaking away from a violent partner even more difficult for men, Dr Bates added.

Dr Liz Bates The senior lecturer in applied psychology, who is also a trustee of the charity ManKind, said: "A third of all victims are men, but they certainly don't get a third of all funding to tackle domestic violence.

"Men and women can both be violent, but there's a real reluctance to accept that men can be the victim.

"They find it more difficult to report and with very little support out there, it's harder for them to leave a relationship because it may mean leaving their children with a violent partner or having to move away," Dr Bates added.

Figures unearthed by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and shared with CN Group found police had dealt with 5,122 incidents where the victim was male in the last nine years - compared to 15,775 where the victim was female.

The gender of a further 4,093 was unrecorded or not known.

Mark Brooks, chairman of the ManKind Initiative, said: “The number of males coming forward to the police sends a clear reminder to those who come into contact and support victims of domestic abuse across Cumbria that they must ensure there are properly resourced support services for male victims.”

For help and advice, men experiencing domestic abuse can call the Mankind Initiative on 01823 334244 on weekdays between 10am and 4pm.