LISTEN: Domestic abuse figures show over 3,000 calls for help made over Christmas

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by Q Radio News

More than 3,000 calls for help in relation to domestic abuse incidents, were reported to police over the Christmas period.

It comes as the PSNI released figures following its annual Christmas domestic abuse campaign which ran from 16th December until 15th January. 

The aim of the initiative was to encourage the reporting of incidents and show victims they can take steps to stop it. 

During that one month period, police received 3,036 calls for help which compared to 3,114 from the same period the previous year, which is a decrease of 78 incidents. 

There were 1,782 reports of domestic crimes, an increase of 208 from the 1,574 over Christmas in 2018. 

Detective Superintendent Anthony McNally has been speaking to Q Radio about the campaign.

In a statement, Detective Chief Superintendent Paula Hilman said, "This increase was largely attributable to the recording of higher numbers of harassment and malicious communications offences. 

"It is encouraging to note that violence against the person with injury has however decreased, and as a Police Service, we continue to ensure we arrest and charge offenders for these offences, were the evidence exists to do so."

Meanwhile, on Christmas Day 96 domestic abuse incidents were reported, which is a decrease of 20 calls from Christmas Day in 2018. 

On New Year's Day however, there were a staggering 187 calls made for help; an increase of 29 incidents compared to the previous year. 

DCS Paula Hilma continued, "This may seem like a small increase but, sadly, there are victims behind every single one of these statistics.

“These figures tell us more victims are finding the courage to pick up the phone and make a report, which is encouraging, but we must always remember behind each statistic is a victim.  

“Domestic abuse is a terrifying crime, which can have a long lasting impact and it can affect anyone, and often leaves victims feeling isolated and alone. 

“We know that victims, both male and female and of all ages, may have suffered abuse many times before calling the police or contacting other agencies for assistance.

“Police officers attending the scene of a domestic incident will take a proactive stance against offenders.

"The police response to domestic abuse aims to ensure the effective protection of victims and family members, whilst allowing the criminal justice system to hold the offender to account for their behaviour. Domestic abuse is a crime and must not be tolerated.

“It is important that anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse knows they should not have to endure this horrific behaviour and that there are people who can help them make it stop.

“Unfortunately, many incidents of domestic abuse still go un-reported, but we hope this campaign will have gone some way towards changing that. We hope these stark figures issued today will encourage anyone impacted by domestic abuse to report it to us. 

“It is our job to keep people safe. I want to make a direct appeal to anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse, or anyone who knows of any incident of domestic abuse to pick up the phone and tell us so we can make it stop.

“Please call us on 101 or if it’s an emergency always call 999.

“A 24-hour Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline is available to anyone who has concerns about domestic or sexual violence, now or in the past on 0808 802 1414.”

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