Most of us will have an enjoyable time at Christmas, but for domestic abuse sufferers it can be a time when their recurring nightmare becomes even worse.
The West Lancashire Community Safety Partnership (WLCSP) is sending a message to victims that help is available to try and help those suffering during the festive period.
In December 2015 and January 2016 there were a total of 71 crimes reported as domestic abuse in West Lancashire. Between January 2016 and September 2016 the West Lancashire Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference heard 137 high risk cases of domestic abuse. This body has responsibility for putting in place action plans for such cases.
There were 823 women, 180 children and 128 men referred to the Liberty Centre (West Lancashire) between January 2016 and early December 2016. The Centre was unable to accept a further 48 women and 59 children into its refuge as there was no room at that time.
Anyone who is forced to alter their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner’s reaction is being abused. Research has shown that abuse can happen at any stage of a relationship and is very rarely a ‘one-off’. One in four women will suffer from domestic abuse at some stage in their lives.
In 50% of domestic violence cases, the children can get hurt too, either by being subjected to violence themselves or witnessing it.
Find more details about services available to people suffering domestic violence .
Councillor Kevin Wright, West Lancashire Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Health and Community Safety, said: “It is important to stress that while more than 80 per cent of victims in domestic violence cases are women, men are also the victims of domestic abuse.
“If you are reading this and think you are a victim of domestic abuse, or you think someone else may be a victim, please talk to someone you trust. Or you can call the police, or the Liberty Centre or a national helpline.”
West Lancashire police inspector June Chessell said: “We cannot allow victims of domestic abuse to suffer. We will act to bring perpetrators to justice whenever we can and will work with our partner agencies to support victims to leave abusive relationships.”
In November 2016 WLCSP joined the Liberty Centre (West Lancashire) to launch the innovative social media campaign ‘Make the call. Don’t be a bystander.’ This encourages people who had some awareness that a friend, relative or colleague was suffering from domestic violence, to get some support, advice or assistance. West Lancashire Borough Council also supports the White Ribbon Campaign, a global movement to put a stop to male violence against women and girls.
The Liberty Centre has a free confidential 24 hour helpline number 0808 100 3062 which is open to callers over the Christmas period. The centre’s confidential counselling and legal advice services for victims will open every day except the bank holidays. A full service will be provided throughout the festive period at The West Lancashire Women’s Refuge which offers short term emergency accommodation.
Eleanor Maddocks, chief executive of the Liberty Centre, said: “Domestic Violence does not stop because it is Christmas. For too many women and children, this will be a time of living with intimidation, fear and violence. The Christmas period which is meant to be a time of happiness and joy is often the most difficult time for them.”
The Broken Rainbow national helpline numbers for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are 0800 999 5428, and 0300 999 5428. The police can be contacted on their non-emergency number 101 and specify your location, or in an emergency ring 999.
David Tilleray, West Lancashire Community Safety Partnership chairman, added: “Domestic abuse is a crime. We want victims to know they are not alone and if they approach those services that can help them, their complaints will be handled with care by people sympathetic to what they are going through. We would urge members of the community to report any problems with domestic violence they are aware of.”
Donations to the Liberty Centre can be made by via Liberty Centre (external link).
Notes to editors: The Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge is 0808 2000 247. The helpline will be open 24 hours a day over the Christmas period.