Don’t suffer in silence

This festive period South Yorkshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner are making a direct appeal; if you are suffering domestic abuse or violence - don’t suffer in silence - report it to the police by calling 999 in an emergency or 101 if you are not at immediate risk. For advice and support you can also contact the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 24, run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge.

At this time of year the police usually see an increase in reported incidents of domestic abuse and violence, which maybe due to excessive drinking. The message from South Yorkshire Police is that domestic abuse is not acceptable and there are dedicated officers and resources in place to ensure that all domestic incidents are vigorously investigated. Domestic abuse can be threatened or actual physical, emotional, psychological, financial and sexual abuse.

Superintendent Peter Norman, of South Yorkshire Police said: “The pressures of family life, debt, work or unemployment worries and the added increase in people's alcohol consumption over the Christmas and New Year period, can put added strain on relationships. However, there is no excuse for domestic abuse - many people have to cope with these pressures, and don't assault their partners and no-one should have to live in fear.

“We want victims to report such cases to us, as soon as possible, no matter what time of the day or night. Do not suffer in silence, do not become a repeat victim, we will work with our partner agencies to keep you safe, and support you in whatever way you need.

“With fewer courts operating over the festive period, offenders could find themselves facing a very bleak Christmas in a cell as they wait for a court hearing.''

The Commissioner Shaun Wright said: “Domestic abuse is not tolerated at any time of year but South Yorkshire Police is highlighting this issue at a time when many people are thinking about enjoying themselves. Sadly a proportion of people won’t enjoy it. They are simply worried about an abusive partner and worried how they will react next. For victims of domestic abuse, Christmas can be anything but enjoyable. It is not just adults who are affected, often children witness the abuse and they too can be severely traumatised by it.

“Offenders need to know that the police can still pursue charges against them without the consent of their victim. Also, it does not have to be the victim that reports the incident, action can also be taken even if it is a friend, neighbour or other family member who informs the police. I want to warn anyone who decides to act abusively towards their loved ones, either physically or mentally, you face positive police action, the prospect of being arrested and prosecuted”.

South Yorkshire Police have dedicated teams of officers on hand to support victims of domestic abuse; putting their safety and well-being at the forefront of the investigation offering early specialist intervention. The Public Protection Units (PPU) across the county ensures that domestic abuse and sexual assaults are dealt with positively. Domestic abuse currently accounts for 18% of violent crime. It has more repeat victims than any other crime and claims the lives of two women each week in the UK. Remember, ring 999 in an emergency and 101 if you are not at immediate risk.

South Yorkshire Police and the Commissioner would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

Police enforcement throughout December is supported by a media campaign called 'Start thinking, Reduce your drinking', which focuses on a range of messages including drink driving, safe socialising, anti-social drinking and domestic violence. For details of the campaign please visit http://www.facebook.com/shakenandslurred.