Hundreds seek support during domestic violence campaign
Dated: 01 Feb 2010
A winter initiative to offer more help to domestic violence victims has led to a sharp rise in people visiting support services.
In the eight week Northumbria Police campaign called "Domestic Violence - It's a Crime", the force took a tough stance against offenders while urging victims to come forward and report abuse.
The campaign was created to run during the festive period when levels of stress, alcohol and debt all increase.
Figures show there were 3,343 incidents of domestic violence over December and January, down by 110 incidents compared to the same period last year.
But the number of referrals to support services by the police rose to 952 from 688 the previous year.
And of the 2,695 victims, 1,612 were people who contacted the police for the first time.
DCI Michael Barton from the force's Public Protection Unit, said: "Every incident of domestic violence is totally unacceptable but any drop in the number has to be welcomed.
"But the campaign also aimed to encourage people to report offences, so in this respect it's also been succesful. The increase in first time reports hopefully means people are becoming more confident about coming forward while repeat offenders have heeded the message and realise the punishments they can face."
Over the Christmas period every person arrested for domestic violence was given a letter when they left the police station outlining the potential consequences of their actions.
DCI Barton added: "It's important to stress that although the campaign has ended, the support we offer to victims is ongoing throughout the year.
"We are committed to providing sympathetic and appropriate support for victims, putting offenders before the court, and working with partners to make victims aware of the help that's available."