Northern Ireland news

Rise in domestic abuse calls on new year's day

Police received more than 3,000 calls about domestic abuse over Christmas. Picture by Dominic Lipinski, Press Association

DOMESTIC abuse calls rose sharply on new year's day with 187 people appealing to police for help.

New figures from the PSNI show police received more than 3,000 calls for help between December 15 and January 16.

Although the overall 3,036 figure was lower than the 3,114 calls received in the same period the previous year, the number of calls on new year's day increased.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paula Hilman said: "On new year's day we received a staggering 187 calls for help; an increase of 29 incidents compared to the previous year.

"This may seem like a small increase but, sadly, there are victims behind every single one of these statistics.

"These figures tell us more victims are finding the courage to pick up the phone and make a report, which is encouraging, but we must always remember behind each statistic is a victim."

During the same December-January period, police received 1,782 reports of domestic crimes - an increase of 208 on the previous year.

Ms Hilman said the increase was due to a rise in reports of harassment and malicious communications. However, reports of violent attacks had decreased.

"We wanted to remind people they do not have to suffer in silence; that they can come forward to report any incident of domestic abuse to police," she said.

"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 rise."

On Christmas day, police received 96 reports of domestic abuse - a decrease of 20 calls on the previous year.

"It is important that anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse knows they should not have to endure this horrific behaviour and that there are people who can help them make it stop," Ms Hilman said.

"Unfortunately, many incidents of domestic abuse still go un-reported, but we hope this campaign will have gone some way towards changing that. We hope these stark figures issued today will encourage anyone impacted by domestic abuse to report it to us."

She appealed to anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse to call police on 101 or, in an emergency, 999.

A 24-hour Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline is also available on 0808 802 1414.

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