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Do Not Suffer In Silence From Domestic Abuse At Christmas

Victims of domestic abuse are urged to come forward this Christmas, as police pledge to continue taking a tough stance against offenders.

While domestic abuse is not tolerated at any time of year, officers across  Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire will be seeking to arrest and remand those suspected of attacking their loved ones, potentially leading them to endure a bleak Christmas in custody.

Historically, incidents of domestic abuse do increase over Christmas, when the pressures of family and money and an increase in alcohol consumption places additional strain on relationships.

As part of West Mercia Police’s Operation Christmas Presence campaign, Chief Inspector Amanda Blakeman warned offenders that police would look to deal robustly with anyone committing offences.

“Christmas for most is a time for enjoying yourself, having fun and spending quality time with family. However, for some, the emotional strain of the season can contribute to a rise in domestic abuse,” she said.

“Even the healthiest relationship can suffer stress and strain over Christmas, with all the commitments in relation to family and friends and the need to provide for family. It is also a recognised fact that alcohol plays a part in many incidents.

“As a result, police often see a rise in the number of domestic abuse incidents reported over the festive season due to this increase in stress, debt and, for many, alcohol consumption.”

Chief Insp Blakeman, who is leading Operation Christmas Presence for 2009, warned that those who did act abusively towards their loved ones, both physically and mentally, faced tough police action and a bleak Christmas behind bars.

“Domestic abuse is not tolerated at any time of year but West Mercia Police is highlighting this issue at a time when many people may be thinking mainly about enjoying themselves,” she added.

“For victims of domestic abuse Christmas will be anything but enjoyable. And it is not just partners who are affected; often children witness the abuse and can be severely traumatised by it.

“We are here to provide support for victims, to put offenders before the courts and to let victims know what help and support is available.

“Offenders need to know that police can still pursue charges against them without the consent of the victim. It also does not have to be the victim that reports the incident, we can still take action even if it is a friend, neighbour or other family member who calls us.

“We will seek to arrest and remand in custody anybody involved in domestic abuse and, with fewer courts operating over the Christmas period, offenders could find themselves facing a very bleak Christmas in jail as they wait for a hearing.”

For more information about the various support networks in place to help both victims and offenders in domestic abuse incidents, visit our Advice Centre or call the National, Domestic Violence Helpline (freephone) on 0808 2000 247. You can also visit the national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children.

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