Brooks Newmark questions the Minister for Equality about the links between the increase in the number of domestic violence victims and 24-hour drinking.
Mr. Brooks Newmark (Braintree) (Con): A letter that I received from the Under-Secretary of State for Justice, the hon. Member for Lewisham, East (Bridget Prentice), acknowledges that the number of domestic violence victims has risen by 12 per cent. in the past year, from 594,000 to 664,00. She attributes the increase to better reporting, but it is quite a large increase. How much of it does the Minister think can be attributed to the 24-hour drinking that takes place nowadays?
Barbara Follett: The incidence of reporting has certainly increased. I think that women now feel more confident about coming forward, and that there are better systems to protect them. I cannot speculate on how much the increase in the number of reported cases is due to drinking, although I am sure that Ministers at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will look into the possibility.