The Police Service of Northern Ireland has today, Wednesday, 9 December, launched its annual domestic abuse Christmas campaign.
Scheduled to run until mid-January, the aim of the campaign is to encourage the reporting of incidents and make victims aware they can take steps to stop it.
The campaign’s message is ‘Speak Out’. It will be promoted via online advertising across Northern Ireland.
Detective Superintendent Eamonn Corrigan, from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Public Protection Branch, said: “We want to remind people they should not suffer in silence; they can come forward to report any incident of domestic abuse to police, where they will be treated with respect and dignity.
“Domestic abuse doesn’t only occur at Christmas; it happens all year round and during these unprecedented times when people have to live their lives as never before, it is important that anyone suffering from domestic abuse knows the police are still there working 24/7 to keep people safe.
“Unfortunately, however, we know over the Christmas period incidents of domestic abuse rise. When we look at the figures from last year’s campaign, which ran from 15th December until 16th January, the highest level of incidents reported to police was on New Year’s Day when we received 189 calls for help compared to 158 the previous year. This is the highest reported amount in the past 5 years. On Christmas Day 2019, there were 96 incidents reported to us compared to 116 from the previous year. On Boxing Day 2019, there were 118 incidents reported to us compared to 126 from the previous year.
“Looking at the overall statistics from 1st October 2019 until 30th September 2020 there were 32,015 domestic abuse incidents recorded; an increase of 128 (0.4 per cent) on the previous 12 months.
“These stark 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.
“What is also alarming is, between 1st October 2019 and 30th September 2020, there was a domestic abuse incident recorded every 16 minutes.
“Unfortunately, many incidents of domestic abuse still go un-reported, but we hope this campaign will go some way towards changing that and will encourage anyone impacted by domestic abuse to report it to us.
Domestic abuse is a terrifying and impactful crime that often leaves victims feeling isolated and alone. It is vital that they know there is help.
We work closely with statutory and voluntary agencies to ensure anyone who suffers domestic abuse gets the help they need, to highlight the issue of Domestic Abuse and to explore ways in which we can protect our community.
“Our role is about prevention, protection and prosecution; to prevent further violence, to protect the victim, children and other vulnerable people and to facilitate the prosecution of offenders. We want anyone impacted by domestic abuse to know there is help out there.”
“I want to encourage anyone suffering from domestic abuse to call their local police on the non-emergency 101 or, in 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.”