Sussex Police, in collaboration with partners, will be carrying out extra multi-agency Domestic Abuse activity, Operation Ribbon, for the Christmas period.
Dedicated extra patrol cars will be responding to domestic abuse incidents, which have often increased during the festive period. Officers will be equipped with body-worn video to record incidents.
From 19 to-31 December, police and partners will carry out focussed work to respond to and investigate incidents of domestic abuse, and to support victims with reassurance and safety measures.
Officers will also proactively visit suspects who are on conditional bail for any Domestic Abuse related offence or subject of a Domestic Violence Protection Notice or Order (DVPN/DVPO).
Dedicated independent victim support services will be available, including Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) where necessary, to provide both immediate and ongoing counselling and welfare support
To support the operational work, police social media activity will raise awareness of domestic abuse and the potential increase in incidents during the Christmas season.
At 5.45pm today (17 December), Special Investigation officers, Detective Sergeant Danny Dugan and Detective Constable Jamie Pooley will be publishing a short video on Facebook about what domestic abuse victims can expect when reporting, and will host a Q&A session between from 6pm to midnight. To take part, post your questions on the Sussex Police Facebook page.
From Monday 19 to Friday 23 December, an awareness video will be released on Facebook each day at 4.30pm, featuring a variety of staff and officers who deal with domestic incidents, further encouraging victims to report.
For the second week of Op Ribbon, police social media messages will signpost people to help and support to further raise awareness. To help spread the word, please share and retweet messages on social media, and use #TalkToUs #DomesticAbuse.
Detective Chief Inspector Ali Eaton, said: "For some, Christmas can be a particularly tough time of the year. We do often see an increase in reports of controlling behaviour and domestic abuse, perhaps due to excessive alcohol, increased family tensions and financial pressures, but there are simply no excuses.
Sadly the force had a busy festive period last year (between 21 December and New Year’s Day) with 1928 calls related to domestic abuse. 915 of these calls resulted in crimes being recorded and there were 532 arrests. More than 1000 of the calls which did not result in recorded crimes still resulted in referrals by police to multi-agency support and assessment.
"If Christmas becomes the tipping point, we want to reassure people that our specialist staff and officers can offer supportive measures to help them rebuild their lives.”
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said, "Domestic abuse has a devastating effect on families from all walks of life and must remain a priority for everyone. All too often the onus is put on the victim to report and so I fully support the preventative work that Sussex Police is doing during the holiday period in order to protect the vulnerable in our society.
"I hope that by having dedicated police wearing video cameras visiting those who are known to the authorities for abusing their partners, innocent people will be able to enjoy a peaceful and happy festive time.
"Once again, I am extremely grateful to the officers and staff who work these long shifts and help those victims who have the courage to contact Sussex Police and seek help.
"I would urge anyone who is concerned about domestic abuse to watch Sussex Police’s videos and take the opportunity to get involved in the Force’s Facebook page Q&A with officers this Saturday. You can also get advice here.
Domestic abuse accounts for almost a fifth of all recorded violent crime, although this is likely to be significantly under-estimated due to under reporting. Nationally, nearly half of all female murder victims are killed by a partner or former partner. Domestic abuse causes considerable damage to individuals, families and the community.
Domestic abuse is not just physical violence, but also sexual, financial and emotional abuse. It is controlling, coercive and threatening behaviour, violence or abuse for those aged 16 and over and can affect anyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or sexuality. Offenders can be current or previous intimate partners, or family members.
For further advice and support on domestic abuse in Sussex see the force's website here or call 101 or 01273 470101. We have specially trained officers who can help.