Christmas sees rise in domestic violence

REPORTS of domestic violence during the festive period have nearly doubled over the last four years, according to Suffolk Constabulary figures.

In a brutal snapshot illustrating the soaring levels, officers were called out 320 times between December 20, 2009, and January 5, 2010, - a 55% increase on the previous year.

In 2008/09 there were 206 calls during the same period, which is supposed to be a time of goodwill to all.

The situation is even worse when compared to Christmas and New Year in 2006/07 when there were 170 reports of domestic abuse. This equates to an 88% rise when compared to last year's figures.

Police acknowledge the problem grows in the weeks before and after Christmas, with people often staying in close proximity for longer and more alcohol being consumed.

Christmas Day last year provided the third highest number of domestic violence calls to police over the holiday period with 25 reports, while New Year's Day had the largest number with 29 call-outs.

Although most of those affected are women, police are aware that a minority of men are also victims.

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Detective Superintendent Alan Caton, head of public protection for Suffolk Constabulary, said: 'The increase over the last few years has shown people have confidence to report such offences to police and we take them seriously and will deal with them.

'Many women are traumatised by the effects of domestic violence and it is a brave step for them to come forward.

'Domestic violence of all kinds is unacceptable. It forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour.

'We are aware of the significant impact on victims and spend a lot of time advising them that they should come forward and report experiences of domestic abuse.'

Det Supt Caton said often women will experience a number of physical assaults, or put up with ongoing mental abuse, before seeking help from the police or other agencies.

• If you are in a violent relationship and need help telephone Suffolk Police on 01473 613500.

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