Northamptonshire Police have launched a campaign to stamp out domestic abuse this Christmas.
The police will be working alongside a number of partner agencies, including Women’s Aid, Voice, Family Support Link Wellingborough, Relate, Substance to solution and East Northants Council.
Each year police in the county are called to more than 10,000 domestic abuse related incidents.
And the force says that holiday times, in particular Christmas and New Year, can be a stressful time for families and relationships, and the number of reports of abuse traditionally increases over this period.
The launch took place at Glamis Hall in Wellingborough’s Queensway estate, led by Det Insp Richard Tompkins, who has responsibilty for the force’s domestic abuse unit.
He said: “Nearly 10 per cent of all calls for assistance that we get into the force control room are of a domestic nature, so you can see it’s a real, big issue.”
Det Insp Tompkins added that in the last six years the number of domestic abuse cases reported had grown significantly, sometimes to 1,000 a month from about 700 a month previously.
He said: “We look at that as a good thing because we hope that that means that’s an increased sign of trust and confidence that the community have got, and they feel able to talk to us.
“We know that domestic abuse increases at Christmas time. We also know it should be a time for families and peace and a time for people to enjoy themselves.
“(But) I think it would be remiss of us to forget the fact that there are numerous people in the county who will have a very miserable Christmas and will live in fear of abuse, assault, having damage committed to them and on occasion living in real fear of their personal safety.”
Insp Paul Valentine, from the Wellingborough and East Northants sector, welcomed the multi-agency approach to the problem, and said victims of domestic abuse, their children and even the perpetrators should contact police.
He added: “We know from experience that over the Christmas and festive period, like other key times of the year, domestic abuse sadly rises.
“We all think of Christmas as a happy time of year in our families and by and large that is the case.
“But there will be families that do suffer through domestic abuse.”