COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Nacro report seeks to allay fears over crime

JOHN PLUMMER

While most voluntary-sector groups run campaigns to get more publicity, a crime reduction charity launches an initiative next week that it hopes will result in less front-page coverage of violence on the streets.

Nacro is so concerned about media hysteria surrounding "violent Britain

that is has produced a report which indicates the likelihood of being attacked by a stranger is no greater today than it was 20 years ago.

The charity hopes Violent Crime: Reconfiguring the debate will make people realise the hype surrounding street violence is spiralling out of control and means other serious criminal issues are being ignored, most notably domestic violence on women.

Domestic violence accounts for 22 per cent of all violent crime and in over a third of cases, the victim knows their attacker.

Marcus Roberts, Nacro policy development manager, said: "We're very concerned about the way the media is obsessively preoccupied with street crime and their claims that it is growing out of control when the statistics prove that just isn't the case. If the whole debate takes place on the basis of misconception it is hard for groups such as us to intervene at a practical level."

While street attacks dominate the newspapers, domestic incidents remains largely unreported. By showing in the report that the former accounts for fewer instances of violent crime than the latter, Nacro hopes to highlight the flaw in the current agenda and lead it into new directions.

The report states: "The realities of violent offending are often hidden away in homes, institutions and workplaces. Those who are most vulnerable to violence are often not the most visible, nor necessarily the most sympathetic to the public."

Roberts added: "It's about spinning the debate in a different direction. But before we can begin to do that we need to get the whole discussion on a more rational track and take the heat out of issues."

The report is due to be released on Monday and will be distributed to politicians and other key influencers, including the media. Besides trying to change the nature of the debate on crime, it also aims to tackle violent behaviour in all its forms.

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