Domestic Violence Victims Speak Out

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul James Chief Reporter

DOMESTIC abuse fell over the notoriously violent Christmas period, in the wake of a high-profile police campaign against the crime.

Year-on-year figures revealed yesterday showed that as the Northumbria Police End the Silence crackdown gathered pace, reports of domestic violence were 30% down from the festive period in 2005.

Police chiefs said there were signs the campaign, launched at the beginning of December, was paying off.

And workers at a women's refuge who are staffing a special helpline for the police said victims were beginning to speak up - with calls up 60% year-on-year.

Assistant Chief Constable Kevin Mathieson is now pushing for extra funding from local authorities in the region to keep the helpline open after the campaign ends.

Almost 500 fewer incidents were reported to police than in the same period 12 months ago, according to the figures.

And the number of crimes arising from domestic abuse reduced by 30%, while the arrest rate increased from 31% to 38%.

Mr Mathieson said: "History shows that the stress of the festive season usually increases offences - but not this time around.

"It seems as if the message is getting through that Northumbria Police will take a hard line on anyone who is accused of committing domestic abuse.

"Our new approach to domestic abusers - to lock them up and put them before the courts - will continue into the future.

"That means their friends, neighbours and employers almost certainly finding out just what kind of person they really are when the story is written up in the papers."

Since the campaign launch, the National Centre for Domestic Violence has obtained injunctions for five local people, with another in the pipeline. …