Belfast Telegraph

Police launch Christmas domestic violence campaign

By Ricky Thompson

"I will kill you all in your sleep tonight" - the chilling words one terrified mother heard from her husband after suffering 22 years of domestic abuse.

Every 19 minutes in Northern Ireland, police respond to an incident involving domestic violence.

On Tuesday the PSNI launched it's domestic abuse campaign for Christmas, entitled ‘Domestic abuse is wrong, pick up the phone and make it stop'.

The campaign is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents and make domestic abuse victims aware that they can take steps to stop it.

One such victim is Louise who suffered sexual, verbal and violent abuse, at the hands of her husband, for 22 years.

Ten years ago she decided she'd had enough, picked up the phone and bravely called the police.

"When we lived in England, the verbal abuse started first and then we moved back to Belfast and the verbal abuse turned physical", she said.

Louise suffered depression, self harm and attempted suicide as a result of her terrifying ordeal.

She continued: "I wouldn't like to see anyone go through what I went through. They should ring the police. Stand up for yourself or your children, walk away and don't look back."

On one particular occasion, Louise decided it was her time to stand up: "He came home one night and I was sitting watching Eastenders with my youngest daughter.

"He came in drunk and I told my daughter not to speak to him and he kept chatting and bad-naming and he got up off the chair and he said 'I'll kill yas, all tonight and yas are dead' and something clicked in my head to get out and I got out."

Speaking about abuse here, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, Service Improvement Department said: "Unfortunately every 19 minutes, the PSNI attends a domestic violence somewhere in Northern Ireland.

"Also, unfortunately, four people have already been murdered this year as a result of domestic violence - seven last year and five the year before. This is a very serious issue about harm to our community.

“We know that incidents of Domestic Abuse rise over the Christmas period.  Since October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014 we have received 27,931 reports of domestic abuse incidents.  This is in comparison to the previous year’s figure of 27,596. However, we still believe that a large number of domestic incidents are unreported.

“We know that Domestic Abuse is a frightening crime which can affect anyone, both women and men.  Very often victims are isolated.  No one should have to endure abuse and I want to encourage all victims of domestic abuse to come forward and report the matter to the police.”

The Police Service continues to work with key stakeholders to highlight the issue of Domestic Abuse and explore ways in which we can keep communities safer.  Recently, the Police Service of Northern Ireland was one of first recipients of the Onus training and lConsultancy Service Platinum Awards, which is given to organisations who have committed to joining with Onus in extending the Safe Place message ‘never to commit, condone or stay silent about domestic violence’.

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

The Police Service of Northern Ireland would strongly encourage anyone suffering from domestic abuse to contact their local police on the non-emergency 101 or in an emergency always call 999.

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