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Homicide, stalking and sex offences all on rise in Gwent

Gwent Police headquarters (Pic: Google)

YOUNGER men are most likely to be caught up in serious violence in Gwent, where rates of homicide, stalking and sexual offences have all risen.

A new report shows an “upward trend” in serious crime, as the region’s public services lay out plans for “a Gwent without violence”.

It also suggests the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis and the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic could be partly behind the rises.

Such crimes have a “devastating impact on the lives of victims and families” and instil “fear in communities”, according to report author Jackie Williams, a senior public health specialist at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

Police data reveals men aged 26-35 are most often involved in many types of violent crime, either as victims or offenders.

The report forms the collective response of Gwent’s councils and emergency services organisations for tackling serious violence and its underlying causes.

Together, they have to publish a plan to combat such crime under the Serious Violence Duty imposed by the UK Government.

Research in the region has found “significant increases in stalking and harassment, weapon related crime, rape and sexual violence… and youth violence in particular is showing increases”.

These rises could be down to “improved quality” in police records, but “may also be influenced by the current cost-of-living crisis and a reaction to the pandemic”.

For every 1,000 people living in Gwent, last year there were:

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  • 15.63 stalking and harassment offences, the highest rate in the past five years.
  • 7.78 offences of actual bodily harm, a three-year high but lower than pre-pandemic rates.
  • 3.21 incidents of weapon-related crime – again, a three-year high but down on pre-pandemic levels.
  • 2.89 crimes involving rape or sexual offences, the highest rate in five years.

Gwent also recorded a five-year high in its homicide rate, which would work out last year as the equivalent of 15 homicides per one million people.

And the 426 reports of violent incidents in Gwent’s schools last year also mark a five-year high.

Each area of Gwent has “unique challenges” and parts of the region are among the most deprived in Wales – even relatively prosperous Monmouthshire has 9,500 households in poverty.

According to the report, councils and other public-sector organisations in Gwent have “agreed to adopt a public health approach to violence” that will focus on “addressing underlying risk factors” that could lead to people becoming perpetrators or victims of crime.

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