POLICE have today (Monday) launched a new campaign aimed at tackling the rise in domestic abuse over the Christmas period.
Victims, abusers, friends and family are being encouraged to seek help in the run-up to Christmas, when there is a spike in the number of domestic abuse incidents and alcohol-related violence.
On average over the past six years, 20 per cent more domestic incidents were reported in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight during the festive period than during a similar period earlier in the month.
Research has shown victims of domestic abuse are likely to experience 35 separate incidents before calling the police.
The Speak Out Today campaign, run by Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire County Council, will run until the end of January.
As part of the campaign, stickers will be placed in men’s toilets in 85 pubs and clubs across Hampshire, including heat-sensitive stickers in the urinals, and adverts have been placed on Facebook to encourage victims to speak out.
A live web chat will be hosted on Facebook on Wednesday (12), from 1pm to 3 pm, where police will be on hand to answer any queries. DCI Ben Snuggs said: "Domestic abuse is violent crime, plain and simple and we work hard throughout the year to protect victims and target perpetrators.
"However, as our research shows there is an increase in the run up to Christmas and over the New Year, we are encouraging victims, offenders and witnesses to come forward, report domestic abuse and seek help and advice. "Hampshire Constabulary has also signed a protocol with the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure perpetrators are also prosecuted in cases where a victim withdraws their support.
"I want a clear message sent to those who abuse their partners that domestic abuse is unacceptable. "The message is simple — Speak Out Today."
Information about where to seek help is available at http://hampshiredomesticabuse.org.uk and a video encouraging people to speak out can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/user710453/review/41211663/0532316922
Help is available from the Isle of Wight Women's Refuge and Outreach Service, by calling 825981.