Help for domestic abuse victims over Christmas

PUBLISHED: 10:56 18 December 2009 | UPDATED: 12:29 10 June 2010

AS the festive season approaches, Devon and Cornwall Police, and domestic abuse support agencies is raising awareness of the services and help available to those who are at risk, or suffering, domestic abuse.

AS the festive season approaches, Devon and Cornwall Police, and domestic abuse support agencies is raising awareness of the services and help available to those who are at risk, or suffering, domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse affects many people in the region, and at Christmas, incidents reported to the police and help requested from support agencies often increases.

In December 2008, there were 2,282 incidents reported to Devon and Cornwall Police - this was one of the highest months for recorded incidents during 2008.

DCI Paul Northcott, from Devon and Cornwall Police said: "At Christmas, domestic abuse affects many families and we wanted to take the opportunity to advise anyone in this situation that help and support is available from the police 24 hours a days.

"If anyone needs help urgently they should call 999, or alternatively, if they would like advice and support they can call 08452 777444 or visit our website."

Rachel Martin from ADVA (against domestic abuse and violence), Devon's domestic violence partnership, said: "Most families are under pressure at Christmas time, but in those homes where there is violence and abuse throughout the year, the problems worsen during the festive season."

She added: "We must remember that the reported cases are only the tip of the iceberg and this is why we are so keen to let people know that there is help at hand and they don't need to suffer in silence. There are many services available during the Christmas period to provide help and support should they choose not to involve the police."

Chris Pearson, the manager of SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone - formerly Exeter Women's Aid) which provides advice, support services and refuge accommodation for people in the Exeter, East and Mid Devon areas said; "Nationally, calls to the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline increases by an average of 27 per cent in the aftermath of Christmas and throughout January.

"Many will wait until after the festivities before actively seeking help but we want to let people know that help and advice is available throughout the holiday period and that in the past women and children have even come into the refuge on Christmas Day itself."

Devon and Cornwall Police offer help, support and advice 24 hours a day during the Christmas period.

- In an emergency call 999

- For information and advice call 08452 777 444 or visit www.devon-cornwall.police.uk

SAFE Crisis Support Line can offer help, support and advice 24 hours a day during the Christmas period.

- SAFE Crisis Support Line 0800 3283070

Other advice and support helpline numbers can be found at www.devon-cornwall.pnn.police.uk or www.adva.org.uk

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