Belfast Telegraph

Domestic abuse at highest level in Northern Ireland as PSNI launch Christmas campaign

In 2016: 147 incidents on New Year's Day and 96 on Christmas Day

By Claire Williamson

The PSNI responded to 147 calls for help on New Year's Day last year, new figures have revealed.

It comes as the PSNI launch their annual domestic abuse Christmas campaign with the message "if you feel like you’re walking on eggshells that’s domestic abuse".

The PSNI defines domestic abuse as "any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, verbal, sexual, financial or emotional) inflicted on one person by another, where they are intimate partners or family members, irrespective of gender or sexual orientation".

Police said over the Christmas period incidents of domestic abuse rise and last year there were a total of 147 calls for help on New Year's Day. Meanwhile there were 96 incidents reported to police on Christmas Day compared to 94 the previous year.

From October 1 2016 until September 30 2017 there were 29,404 domestic abuse incidents recorded compared to 28,780 for the same period in the previous year - an increase of 624 incidents.

This is the highest level of recorded incidents since data started being recorded in 2004/05.

Detective Superintendent Ryan Henderson, from the PSNI’s Public Protection Branch, said:  “Domestic abuse just does not occur at Christmas and it happens all year round.

“We respond to an incident of domestic abuse every 18 minutes. It is our job to keep people safe. We know that domestic abuse is a frightening crime which can affect anyone often leaving them feeling isolated and alone. However, we know that many incidents of domestic abuse still go un-reported.

“As the Police Service of Northern Ireland, it is our job to keep people safe. 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.

“Anyone suffering from domestic abuse is encouraged to contact their local police on the non-emergency 101 or in an emergency always call 999.

“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.”

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