The Police Service of Northern Ireland has today launched its annual domestic abuse Christmas campaign. The message of the campaign is ‘If you feel like you’re walking on eggshells that’s domestic abuse’.
The campaign which will run from now until the middle of January is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents and make victims aware that they can take steps to stop it. The campaign will consist of ads, and radio and online advertising across Northern Ireland.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s definition of Domestic Abuse is 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.
Discussing the initiative Detective Superintendent Ryan Henderson, from the PSNI’s Public Protection Branch, said: “We are launching our Christmas campaign today to remind people that they should not have to suffer in silence and come forward to report any incident of domestic abuse to police.
“Unfortunately, we know that over the Christmas period incidents of domestic abuse rise and when we look at the figures from last year’s campaign which ran from 15 December until 16 January the highest level of incidents reported to police was on New Year’s Day when we received a total of 147 calls for help. On Christmas Day 2016 there were 96 incidents reported to us compared to 94 from the previous year.
“Domestic abuse just does not occur at Christmas and it happens all year round. Looking at the overall statistics from 1 October 2016 until 30 September 2017 there were 29,404 domestic abuse incidents recorded compared to 28,780 for the same period of the previous year – this is an increase of 624 incidents. This is also the highest level of recorded incidents since we started recording data in 2004/05.
“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.”