Northern Ireland

More than 1,000 arrested for alleged domestic abuse over the Christmas period

Police received 2,228 calls in connection with domestic abuse from late November to early January

A woman showing signs of depression.
More than 1,000 arrests made over the Christmas period following calls linked to domestic abuse (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

More than 1,000 arrests were made by police responding to reports of domestic abuse before and after Christmas, with an growing number of teenagers taken into custody.

The PSNI figures reveal officers responded to a total of 2,228 calls for help in relation to domestic abuse incidents from late November to early January.

During the period, named Operation Season’s Greetings, a total of 1,113 arrests were made linked to alleged domestic abuse offences, an increase of nearly 12% compared to last year. A total of 368 led to charges, with seven teenagers remanded into custody.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lindsay Fisher, of the Public Protection Branch, said she is saddened that “the reality for so many is that it isn’t a happy, enjoyable time for their family.”

PSNI Detective Superintendent Lindsay Fisher has welcomed new sexual offences laws introduced in Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA)
PSNI Detective Chief Superintendent Lindsay Fisher

“Usually we see reports of domestic abuse increase at this time of the year and although this year’s figures are substantially more than the daily average, we are seeing the numbers of reports for the festive period begin to decrease from the highly inflated figures during and in the aftermath of the pandemic,” DCS Fisher said.

“This year however we have seen an increase in under 18s being arrested and detained for domestic abuse offences. We have focused our awareness raising communications over the last year predominantly on social media and have seen a notable reach with a younger audience.

The 21-year-old was detained by detectives from the PSNI's public protection branch on Tuesday morning.
Police responded to more than 2.200 calls related to domestic abuse

“We hope this has played some part in giving young people the confidence to recognise and report abusive behaviours.”

On Christmas Day, police received 61 calls in connection with domestic abuse, a decrease of 19.7% from 2022. There were 87 calls on Boxing Day and 44 on New Year’s Eve.

“It must never be forgotten that behind each one of these numbers is a victim who, statistics suggest, has endured up to 35 incidents of abuse before coming forward to report,” DCS Fisher said.

In total, 22,323 999 calls were received by police during the Christmas period.