THE number of domestic abuse crimes reported to Essex Police fell last year.

Home Office figures show 29,204 domestic abuse related crimes were recorded by the force in the year to March 2023.

That is a fall from 31,595 offences the year before - a drop of 7.5 per cent, in line with national figures.

Of the domestic abuse-related offences in the county last year, just 7.4 per cent resulted in a charge.

Police across England and Wales recorded 889,918 domestic abuse crimes last year - a slight increase on the year before and well above pre-pandemic levels.

Nationally, 6.8 per cent of domestic abuse offences resulted in a charge.

Lucy Hadley, of Women’s Aid, said the numbers are "incredibly concerning".

She said: "We know from working with survivors that some of the key reasons for not reporting domestic abuse are mistrust in police, especially in survivors being believed, and fears that action won’t be taken to hold the perpetrator accountable and keen women safe.

"The very low proportion of domestic abuse crimes which currently result in arrests and prosecutions, which continues the steep declines we’ve seen since 2016, remains highly concerning."

Figures show there were nearly 51,288 domestic abuse-related prosecutions across England and Wales last year, down from 53,207 in the year ending March 2022.

The Office for National Statistics crime survey estimates 2.1 million people aged 16 years and over in England and Wales suffered domestic abuse last year. About 65 per cent of the victims are believed to be women.

Women were also nearly twice as likely to experience non-sexual partner abuse and five times as likely to experience any form of domestic sexual abuse compared to men.

A Home Office spokesman said the Government has gone "further than ever" in protecting victims.

They said: "We have classified violence against women and girls as a national threat, setting clear expectations for how the police should respond, as well as providing funding for forces to complete specialist domestic abuse training."

They added the Government will continue to work with police and the Crown Prosecution Service.