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Tackling domestic abuse throughout Christmas

20/12/2016

 

Services for victims of domestic abuse will not stop over the festive holiday – a time that traditionally has prompted greater numbers of reports to police.

 

Officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (DAISU) will be working throughout the festive season and the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline will continue operate its normal hours throughout, including weekends.

 

The volunteer-run helpline 08 088 088 088 provides free and confidential telephone support to anyone affected by domestic abuse in the county. It is open from 9am to 9pm, Monday to Friday, and between 9am and 4pm on a Saturday and Sunday, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

 

As well as investigating reports and prosecuting offences, the focus of DAISU is to safeguard victims and their families. They also offer support to victims and can implement a range of measures to protect men, women and children from abuse.

 

Throughout December, shoppers at Argos and Poundland stores around the county will also have seen messages on their till receipts raising awareness of the helpline and the advice and support website www.hertssunflower.org. The campaign, by the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership, features a letter to Santa stating: “Dear Santa, I wish mummy and daddy would stop fighting. Love, Jamie, aged 6”.

 

Detective Chief Inspector Ruth Dodsworth, from DAISU, said: “Work to tackle domestic abuse and safeguard victims goes on throughout the year and Christmas is no exception. While it should be a time for celebration and festive cheer, for many families it can be a difficult time. It is not just about physical harm – it can also be emotional or financial – and it is not just between partners as abuse can occur across the generations as well. Our specialist unit is dedicated to tackling domestic abuse and will continue with this vital work throughout the holiday period, so that victims are protected from abuse.” 

 

Sarah Taylor, Partnerships Manager for Domestic Abuse at Herts County Council, said: “Increased time spent with family, financial pressures and higher levels of alcohol consumption are believed to be contributing factors to the increased reports of domestic abuse incidents to police during the festive season. However this does not excuse violent, controlling or coercive behaviour and is often reflective of an underlying issue going on behind closed doors. I would urge people not to dismiss concerns about domestic abuse within their family and get help, either by reporting it to police or contacting the helpline as soon as possible.”

 

If you, or anyone you know, is affected or concerned by domestic abuse, or if you are interested in finding out more about becoming a volunteer, call the helpline on 08 088 088 088. In an emergency, always dial 999.  You can also visit the Herts Sunflower website at www.hertssunflower.org.