THE festive Christmas break is a magical time of the year for many - but for some it is a season to dread.
At this time of year as families spend more time together, tensions can rise and it is a sad fact that reports of domestic abuse tend to increase. However the Warwickshire Against Domestic Abuse partnership is reminding victims to find the courage to speak out, and reassuring friends and families whose loved ones suffer at the hands of an abuser that there is help for them too.
Over half of victims tell a friend or relative - three times higher than telling police or a medical professional. In 31 per cent of cases the police are informed by someone other than the victim so those close to sufferers play a big part.There is support available for people in this position from WADA and the county’s domestic abuse support service, Stonham. Warwickshire’s Domestic Abuse Manager, Sue Ingram, said: “Domestic abuse can start with small changes in behaviour.
“It is all about control and can take many forms physical, psychological and sexual. Sufferers’ behaviour often changes as they become quieter, more introverted and less confident.
“I would urge people to open their eyes to domestic abuse and if they are suffering silently or know someone who is I hope they will find the courage to take steps to seek help.”
Domestic abuse is a hidden crime but it is happening every day in Warwickshire. Nationally, two women a week and 30 men a year lose their lives as a result of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is the biggest cause of morbidity among 19 to 44 year old women - more than cancer or traffic accidents and there are more repeat victims than any other type of offence.
Around 700 incidents of domestic abuse are reported every month to police in Warwickshire but during December it’s expected there will be a 33 per cent increase in domestic abuse incidents reported. This is mostly concentrated over the end of December and start of January, during the holiday period.
People are also encouraged to visit www.talk2someone.org.uk or the Refuge and Avon website www.1in4women.com which gives useful information to those who know someone, or think they know someone who is experiencing domestic abuse.