Pre-Christmas reports of domestic abuse in Northern Ireland have spiked by 40% compared to last year, a senior police office said.
PSNI Chief Superintendent Davy Beck said the number of arrests made in the last month has also increased compared to 2021, by 10%.
Mr Beck attributed the rise in reports to growing confidence among victims to come forward and tell the authorities about the abuse they have suffered.
Provisional figures for the period November 17 to December 19 show over 2,000 domestic abuse incidents were reported in Northern Ireland.
There were approximately 500 arrests in the same period.
The PSNI’s traditional pre-Christmas safety campaign, which covers areas such as roads, retail and nightlife, placed a particular focus on combating violence against women and girls.
Earlier this year, the service launched a specific strategy to tackle such crimes.
In an interview with the PA news agency, Mr Beck, who is chief superintendent for local policing, said: “We have seen an increase in reporting of domestic incidents so far, we have received over 2,000 reports that are being dealt with.
“But I would also say that we have seen an increase in our arrests…
“I think that demonstrates our commitment, as outlined in our violence against woman and girls strategy, to relentlessly pursue perpetrators of domestic crime.
“The key message is, ‘We’re here to help’.
“We do not want people to suffer in silence. We encourage people to seek help and report that incident as perhaps the first step in that journey and in getting help.”
Mr Beck said studies consistently show domestic abuse is underreported in the UK.
He said it is “encouraging” more victims are prepared to come forward.
If you need help:
- In an emergency ring 999
24 Hour Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline
Available to anyone who has concerns about domestic or sexual abuse, now or in the past. It is open to all women and men affected by domestic and sexual violence. Please phone 0808 802 1414.
Men’s Advisory Project
Men’s Advisory Project (MAP) exists to provide counselling services for men experiencing domestic abuse. Support and counselling services are also available to men who have previously left a violent or abusive relationship and who are still experiencing the effects. In Belfast please phone 9024 1929 and in Foyle it's 7116 0001.
You can also speak to your GP