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abuse figures PSNI say domestic abuse and crimes rise on Christmas Day and Boxing Day

There was an overall drop in calls to police during Christmas period overall

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Incidents of domestic abuse in Northern Ireland rose on Christmas Day and Boxing Day even though there was slight decrease overall in the number of reports during the Christmas period.

The PSNI have said that during their Christmas domestic abuse campaign, called 'Speak Out', which ran from December 9 of last year until January 17 this year, they received a total of 3,341 calls for help in relation to domestic abuse incidents compared to 3,584 for the same period the year before.

That was an overall decrease of 243 calls.

In the same period the police received 2,116 reports of domestic crime, which was a decrease of 39 reports from the previous year (2,155).

Police said they received 111 incidents of domestic abuse on Christmas Day compared to 96 for the same period the year before, an increase in 15 reports. 72 domestic crimes were reported compared to 53 for the year before; an increase of 19.

On Boxing Day there were 132 incidents of domestic abuse reported compared to 118 the year before, an increase of 14, while 100 reports of domestic crimes were called in, compared to 73 for this the year before; an increase of 27.

On New Year's Day there were 139 incidents of domestic abuse reported compared to 189 for the year before, which was a decrease of 50 calls. There were 98 reports of domestic crimes called in, compared to 111 for the year before; a decrease of 13.

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Corrigan, Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Public Protection Branch, said: “Domestic abuse, in all its forms, is a terrifying crime that can affect anyone.

"We are all living in extraordinary times, trying to deal with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which can make those suffering from domestic abuse feel even more isolated and vulnerable. However, my message is clear – you are not alone. Do not suffer in silence, please talk to us. We are here to help you. We will treat you with sensitivity and respect and help you explore your options to get justice.

"I can assure everyone who comes to us that we will be with them every step of the way.

“It is important that anyone suffering from domestic abuse knows they should not have to endure this horrific behaviour and that there are people who can help them make it stop. Police are not the only body who offer advice and help in cases of domestic abuse. We also work closely with a range of partner agencies including Women’s Aid; Rainbow Project and Men’s Advisory Project, who also offer a wide range of services and advice.”

He continued: “We know domestic abuse doesn’t only occur at Christmas; that it happens all year round but, sadly, historically figures show over the Christmas period incidents of domestic abuse can rise.

“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. We want anyone impacted by domestic abuse to know there is help out there. Police can be contacted on 101, or a 24-hour Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline is available to anyone who has concerns about domestic or sexual violence, now or in the past on 0808 802 1414. We also have the Silent Solutions Service which enables a 999 caller who is too scared to make a noise, or speak, to press 55 when prompted.”

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