Police say they received 116 calls for help on Christmas Day last year, as the Christmas Domestic Abuse campaign is launched.
The campaign runs until mid-January, with the aim of encouraging victims of domestic abuse to report it during the holiday period where abuse in the home can be more prevalent.
An animated video with the message ‘Speak out to Stop it’ is also being promoted.
Over the last year from 1 October 2018 until 30 September 2019, there were 31,817 domestic abuse incidents - an increase of 2.5% on the previous 12 months.
The figures are the highest of any 12-month period since PSNI records began in 2004/2005.
On Christmas Day last year, there were 116 incidents reported to police compared to 84 the previous year. Figures also revealed that between Christmas Day and 27th December last year, 373 calls for help were made to police.
On 1 January alone this year, a staggering 158 incidents were reported.
Number of domestic incidents reported during Christmas period last year
Head of PSNI’s Public Protection Branch, Detective Chief Superintendent Paula Hilman said: “Domestic abuse does not only occur at Christmas. We know it happens all year round, but we also know over the Christmas period incidents of domestic abuse rise.”
The number of incidents of domestic abuse between 15th December and 16th January has risen steadily since 2014/15.
There were 2,704 incidents reported during this period in 2014/15, which has increased to 3,114 incidents for the same period in 2018/19.
While this tells us more victims are finding the courage to pick up the phone and call us and make a report, which is encouraging, we must never forget that behind each statistic is a victim with a harrowing story of abuse.
Detective Chief Superintendent Hilman added: “Every 17 minutes, our officers respond to an incident of domestic abuse.
“I want to encourage all victims - regardless of age, race, gender or sexual orientation - to come forward and report what is happening to us.
“Speak out to stop it and we will help you. If you are a victim, you do not have to suffer in silence. You can come forward to report any incident of domestic abuse to us.”
Help & Support
Police non-emergency number: 101
24-hour Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline: 0808 802 1414