Rise in Hackney’s domestic violence figures well exceed London average

Karen Ingala Smith

Karen Ingala Smith - Credit: Archant

Reported cases of domestic violence have risen by a shocking 14 per cent in Hackney over the past year - although the increase could actually be positive, according to the director of a women’s charity.

With 1,785 cases of domestic violence in Hackney, according to the Metropolitan Police over the past 12 months, the figure well exceeds the average increase for London of six per cent.


Islington had 1,594 reported cases, a rise of 4.5 per cent.

The data was released by the London Probation Trust to promote White Ribbon Day, which marks the UN International Day for the elimination of violence against women.

Karen Ingala Smith, chief executive of Nia, a charity which runs services to end violence against women in Hackney and its surrounding boroughs, said there is no straightforward explanation for the steep increase in Hackney’s cases.

“Looking at Hackney’s demographic profile it doesn’t surprise me there are higher incidents of domestic and sexual violence than the rest of London, but at the same time, higher reporting doesn’t necessarily indicate higher incidents,” she said.

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“I’d be cautious to say increased reporting is a bad thing: it could be an indication that things are working better.

“We have to be really careful between drawing an obvious conclusion about the relationship between what’s happening and what’s being reported – we know most violence isn’t being reported so it could also suggest police in Hackney have a proactive approach to domestic violence and are less likely to be called out and write it off as a ‘no crime’ incident.”

Rather than finding potential savings, a “value for money” service review of Hackney’s domestic violence services carried out in June 2010 concluded the service was under-resourced given the level of need.

“Maybe the steps the council is taking have been making things better,” said Ms Ingala Smith.

“The one thing we can say is that, as the cuts to services continue to bite and high rates of domestic and sexual violence are reported, it’s important Hackney protects its specialist services for women who have experienced domestic and sexual violence.”

Hackney Council’s domestic violence team works with other organisations including the police and charities, and last year supported more than 800 victims in Hackney.

n Contact the council’s free helpline on 0800 056 0905 for more information.