New campaign targets festive rise in domestic abuse

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A POSTER campaign has been launched across Whitby and district to tackle predicted seasonal increase in domestic abuse.

The campaign, spearheaded by a number of agencies across North Yorkshire including Scarborough Borough Council’s Safer Communities team and the police, will see posters put on display in high profile public buildings across the county.

The Christmas themed posters help define domestic abuse and publicise special helpline numbers for those affected.

Angela Hartley, domestic abuse co-ordinator for Scarborough and Ryedale, said: “Approximately one quarter of all women and one sixth of all men encounter some form of domestic abuse within their lives and only half of these incidents are ever reported to the police.

“Domestic abuse increases during December and January, partly due to financial pressures, stress of Christmas and excessive alcohol consumption and drug abuse. Often alcohol is used as an excuse for violent and abusive behaviour by both victims and offenders. Violence is a chosen and deliberate behaviour; drinking alcohol does not cause violence, but is a contributory factor with some.

“Over the last few years we have seen incidents emerging from families who, prior to the economic downturn would have gone their separate ways.

“However, because of falling house prices, the difficulties in obtaining mortgages and both or one of the parties losing employment, it has meant couples and families are forced to live together.”

In an emergency, people who have suffered domestic abuse should always call 999.

Other contacts include the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000247; the Men’s Advice Line on 0800 8010327; and the local Domestic Abuse Services on (01723) 365609.