CHRISTMAS is a happy time for most people, who cherish the opportunity to spend quality time with their loved ones – however, for some, the season brings with it the threat of violence.
Figures from previous years, between December and January, show an average increase of 22% of reports of domestic abuse in West Lancashire.
Lancashire Police figures show that, between December 10, 2012 and January 10, 2013, there were 201 domestic abuse crimes in its Southern Division, which includes West Lancashire, a rise of 56 compared to the previous year.
The West Lancashire Comm- unity Safety Partnership is sending a message to victims that help is available to try and help those suffering.
This coincides with a new campaign by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, entitled Take the Step . . . Make the call.
The aims of the campaign include promoting the support mechanisms available to victims. It also wants to dispel the myth that domestic abuse is purely physical abuse.
Controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour can also constitute abuse.
Research has shown that abuse can happen at any stage of a relationship and is very rarely a ‘one-off’. One in four women will suffer from domestic abuse at some stage in their lives.
Eleanor Maddocks, chief executive of the Liberty Centre, formerly known as Domestic Violence Support Services West Lancashire, said: “Domestic violence is an ongoing pattern of behaviour which does not stop because it is Christmas.
“This year, during the Christmas period, we will be supporting over 200 men, women and children.”
Cllr David Sudworth said: “It is important to stress that while more than 80% of victims in domestic violence cases are women, men are also the victims of domestic abuse.”
West Lancashire police inspector Christina Shorrock said: “Domestic abuse can devastate families and relationships and we are committed to providing victims with the help and support they deserve.”
The Liberty Centre helpline can be contacted on 0808 100 3062.