West Yorkshire: Excess drinking link to the most serious domestic violence cases

Nearly 10,000 domestic violence incidents were recorded by West Yorkshire Police in 12 months.

Alcohol is a factor in just under half of the incidents police attend, but among the most serious – where the victim is at risk of being murdered – it is involved in the overwhelming majority.

It's also a factor in most Leeds cases where a child has died because of neglect or deliberate harm.

Because booze impairs judgement, it can lead to victims suffering more serious injuries, however they are also more likely to seek help.

According to Leeds City Council's Domestic Violence Team, drinking can be used as an excuse by violent partners, but they almost always show controlling and abusive behaviour at other times too.

Alcohol is also often used by victims to cope, but it can mean both partners are under the influence if police are called. Abusers can also use it as a justification for their behaviour, though often dependency on booze is as a result of the violence.

Last year in Leeds there were 541 Multi-Agency Risk Conferences (MARACs) to prevent victims of the most serious domestic violence cases being murdered. Workers from different agencies meet to share information and draw up a plan to reduce the risk. As women in abusive relationships are more at risk from when they plan to leave, extra security or help finding alternative accommodation might be given.

* The National Women's Aid Helpline is 0808 2000 247 and a men's advice line is on 0808 8010 327. Locally, victims can contact Help Advice and the Law Team (HALT) on 0113 243 2632 or Behind Closed Doors on 0800 328 2430.

Saphieh Ashtiany, the equality and employment lawyer

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