Victims and survivors of domestic abuse have been assured by the Suffolk Constabulary that they are not alone during the festive season and as the country continues to tackle coronavirus.
With the pandemic causing widespread instability, upheaval and concern over jobs, financial pressure, working from home and all the other current changes to our day to day lives it has been a very stressful year.
When you also add in the elements over unrealistic expectations about having the “perfect” Christmas, combined with excessive alcohol and being confined in close quarters – these all exert an additional pressure on relationships over the festive period.
Det Chief Supt Eamonn Bridger said: “Let me be really clear to anyone concerned – regardless of it being Christmas, domestic abuse is considered a serious crime and we are is committed to the safety of victims and children. We want you to seek and receive appropriate support when you need it.
“We do not want you to suffer in silence. I understand that taking that first step and telling somebody what is happening can often be very difficult but police will be able to offer advice and support to help domestic abuse victims. We also work closely with partner agencies as we understand that people don’t always want to approach police.
“As well as asking victims to come forward themselves, I would also urge relatives and friends to look out for the signs of domestic abuse and report it if they believe someone they know is suffering as a result of it. It really could make a difference in ensuring a safer Christmas for everyone.
“As we have done all year with the backdrop of the pandemic, we will continue to monitor the situation closely this festive season. We urge anybody who is currently experiencing domestic abuse to make contact in any way that is safe and works for them.
“We understand that the current situation can lead to heightened stress levels. You may find that you need to check your behaviour or seek support during these uncertain times to prevent yourself from being abusive, or even violent towards your partner.
“The Respect phoneline is also available for people who want to stop being violent and abusive and are concerned about their behaviour and want help to manage and change it.”
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “Domestic abuse is an appalling crime – it ruins the lives of victims and has a devastating impact on their families, particularly because children often suffer the consequences as well.
“Sadly, Christmas can amplify the problems and this year, with the added difficulties we face because of Covid, the festive season risks becoming an even more difficult time for some, particularly victims of domestic abuse.
“I find it particularly sad that there is often an increase in the number of cases of domestic abuse at this time of the year and many victims endure tremendous suffering in silence which is totally unacceptable. No-one should have to live with the fear of violence or controlling behaviour, especially at home so I really want to stress, help is available at all hours of every day or night.”
If you are in immediate danger you should still call 999. Police 101 is the non-emergency number.