Page last updated at 08:48 GMT, Monday, 12 January 2009

Christmas domestic violence rises

Police dealt with a big rise in calls about domestic violence in Devon and Cornwall over Christmas.

Officers were called to an average of 41 incidents of domestic violence every day over the six-week Christmas period, from 25 November to 2 January.

The total, of 2,954, is about 500 more than the same period the year before, said police.

Incidents reported to Devon and Cornwall Police ranged from arguments to violent assaults.

At least now they are asking for help whereas in the past people kept this behind closed doors
Janet Barrett
Det Chief Insp Jane Taylor, who runs the police's domestic abuse unit, told BBC News: "Even the healthiest relationships suffer a lot of stress over Christmas.

"You have a whole load of commitments in relation to family and friends and providing all the things that your family needs."

She said the figures were "hopefully" down to increased awareness of the issue and less reluctance to report incidents.

However the majority of complainants, most of whom were women, did not press charges.

"They do not want to put themselves at risk in any way in terms of inflaming the situation or angering the aggressor."

Domestic abuse campaigner Janet Barrett from Camborne in Cornwall told BBC News: "At least now they are asking for help whereas in the past people kept this behind closed doors.

"People were ashamed to admit they were being abused."



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SEE ALSO
More funds to stop domestic abuse
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