Abuse victims are urged to speak out

Reports of domestic abuse in Bradford reached 9,389 this year, an eight per cent rise on last year, as charities urged victims too scared to leave the family home at Christmas to contact them now festivities are over.

West Yorkshire Police revealed that, from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day last year, they had 120 reports of abuse, 93 the year before, and 114 in 2009.

The yearly figure was for April 2011 to March 2012.

Yasmin Khan, from domestic violence charity Staying Put, said they fully supported the police’s Be Safe campaign aimed at stamping out domestic violence.

She said: “We provide a fundamental lifeline and had a significant increase in calls between Christmas and New Year last year.

“The last couple of years have been really challenging for people with public sector cuts and the impact of that.

“That has its own strains and we expect that things are going to be really, really tough for some of our most vulnerable people and want to make sure if people need support they can access our services.

“It takes someone 35 times of being abused before they first ask for help.

“I would say pick up the phone and give us a ring. You can make an informed decision once you have spoken to someone.”

A spokesman for Bradford Women’s Aid said that people tried to keep the peace at Christmas, but added that they could give support to people not strong enough to leave their partners.

“No-one deserves to be abused and they will get our full support,” the spokesman added.

Detective Inspector Mark Long, of the Bradford District Safeguarding Unit, said that a number of factors could contribute to a rise in incidents of domestic violence during the Christmas period.

“The prevalence of alcohol, for instance, is one the motivating factors behind many reports,” he added.

“The added pressures that the festive period brings can also have an aggravating influence on these incidents.

“Since May 2011, people aged 16 and 17 who suffer abuse from partners have been included in figures and also likely to account for any rise.

“Our message to victims, however, is simply that they do not have to tolerate abuse of any level and that there are many agencies there to offer help.

“Neighbourhood Policing Teams are delivering home safety cards within their communities containing contact numbers for potential victims.

“Those who perpetrate these crimes should be clear that we have a firm policy of arrest and will always seek to prosecute where a crime has taken place.”

For help, visit westyorkshire. police.uk/besafe, or call (01274) 667104 or (01274) 666241.

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