Domestic abuse - look out for your family, friends, neighbours and vulnerable people this Christmas
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Christmas can and should be a time of happiness for many.
For those experiencing domestic abuse however, it is often anything but.
This year, we’re asking people to check in with their family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and speak out if they suspect they may be a victim of domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is defined as: ‘any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members irrespective of gender, age, sexuality or ethnicity.’
It may be physical but can also be psychological, sexual, financial or in some cases, emotional.
Essentially, anyone who is forced to alter their behaviour because they are frightened of a partner or family member’s reaction is being abused.
Owing to the ongoing CoVID-19 pandemic, the past 18 months has proven to be a challenge - not least those in violent and abusive relationships.
Many found themselves trapped in their homes, forced to spend more time in the company of their abuser, away from support and isolated from friends and family members.
The force continues its commitment to tackling domestic abuse and over the festive period, our officers will be proactively engaged in this by arresting perpetrators and supporting victims.
But as we approach Christmas – a time when the number of domestic abuse victims can increase – we are also calling on people to play their part and help make it a happy one for everyone.
Detective Chief Inspector Zaid Khan said: “Domestic abuse remains a force priority and it is never acceptable.
“Sadly we recognise there is the potential for a rise in the number of domestic abuse incidents in the run up to and during the Christmas period.
“We will be working with our partners including Refuge Warwickshire and doing everything we can to ensure we provide the best possible service to victims and their families.
“Being in an abusive household at this time of year can be terrifying with victims feeling alone and as though there’s no-one to help them.
“This is where family and friends can make a difference by stepping forward if they suspect someone may be suffering in silence.
“Please check in with your friends, colleagues, neighbours, loved ones and other people you think might be vulnerable during this challenging time.
“Often in cases of domestic abuse, people are aware there is abuse going on but they don’t know what to do to help.
“Get in touch with them – give them a call, send them a text or contact them some other way just to make sure they are okay and know you are there.
“Sometimes victims of domestic abuse might be reluctant to seek help or may be fearful of the ramifications of doing so.
“If you think something isn’t right, please act. Whether you know or suspect that a friend, neighbour, colleague or relative may be a victim of domestic abuse, we urge you to speak up, get in touch with police or encourage them to contact us or other agencies themselves.
“We are here to help; we have specially trained officers who will do everything they can to support and protect victims of domestic abuse and bring offenders to justice.
“Please look out for one another so victims don’t have to suffer alone in silence this Christmas.”
If you or someone you know is affected by emotional, financial, psychological, physical or sexual abuse, Refuge – Warwickshire’s Domestic Violence Service – can offer advice to help keep people safe.
The county-wide service provides support to women, men and children experiencing domestic violence in Warwickshire.