Domestic abuse reported every 15 minutes last Christmas in Northern Ireland, says PSNI
Police received reports of domestic abuse almost every 15 minutes last Christmas, statistics have revealed.
Across Christmas Day and Boxing Day last year, 190 incidents were reported to officers - an average of four every hour.
Anticipating a rise in domestic violence over the holiday period, the PSNI yesterday launched a campaign encouraging victims to report attacks.
Police statistics showed that on Christmas Day alone last year, there were 79 recorded incidents of domestic abuse. That number rose to 111 on Boxing Day.
And from Christmas Eve to December 28 last year, there were a total of 515 recorded domestic incidents.
"These statistics are shocking, especially when you consider the fact that behind every statistic is a victim who has had to endure abuse, and that those victims - both male and female - may have suffered abuse many times before calling the police or contacting other agencies for assistance," said Detective Chief Superintendent George Clarke, head of the PSNI's Public Protection Branch.
"The sad reality is that at this time of year, the number of domestic incidents increase. Throughout the year police respond to an incident of domestic abuse every 19 minutes."
Between October 2014 and September 2015, there were 28,189 incidents of domestic abuse reported and 13,599 domestic abuse crimes - the highest level recorded in a decade.
"As the PSNI, it is our job to keep people safe," said Mr Clarke. "We know that domestic abuse is a frightening crime that can affect anyone, often leaving them feeling isolated and alone."
"We are launching this campaign to remind everyone that no one should have to endure domestic abuse.
"If you are a victim of abuse, please remember you are not alone and that there are people who can help you. Please come forward and report the matter to police.
"Our role is about prevention, protection and prosecution - to prevent further violence, to protect the victim, the children and the other vulnerable people and to facilitate the prosecution of offenders."
The campaign, called Domestic Abuse Is Wrong, Pick Up The Phone And Make It Stop, is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents and to make domestic abuse victims aware that there are measures that they can take to stop it.
It will run online throughout December and officers will also be distributing posters across Northern Ireland.
A 24-hour domestic and sexual violence helpline is available to anyone who has concerns about domestic or sexual violence on 0808 802 1414.
Anyone suffering from domestic abuse should contact their local PSNI on the non-emergency 101 number, or in an emergency call the police on 999.
number of recorded incidents on Christmas Day 2014
number recorded on Boxing Day