Today will see the launch of a number of initiatives aimed at encouraging domestic violence victims to seek help this Christmas.
The initiatives come as the Triax Domestic Abuse Sub Group steps up its campaign to highlight the 24 hour emergency helpline number in an attempt to prevent a rise in domestic abuse incidents over the Christmas and New Year period.
Staff from the Women’s Aid Federation run helpline will be at the Gasyard and Rathmor Shopping Centre, distributing information about the helpline, local businesses will be provided with posters and cards displaying the number and a banner will be launched at Free Derry Corner displaying a harrowing image and the helpline number.
Catherine Pollock, from the Triax Neighbourhood Management Team, said: “Historically, incidents of domestic abuse do increase over Christmas. For most is a time for enjoying yourself, having fun and spending quality time with family. However, for some, the emotional strain of the season can contribute to a rise in domestic abuse. Even the healthiest relationship can suffer stress and strain over Christmas. It is also a recognised fact that alcohol plays a part in many incidents.”
Maureen Collins, Neighbourhood Assist Coordinator Dove House, added: “For victims of domestic abuse Christmas will be anything but enjoyable.
“And it is not just partners who are affected; often children witness the abuse and can be severely traumatised by it.
“We hope to show people that it is ok to ask for help and that the community around them supports them to do this.”
The 24 hour helpline can be contacted by victims, their family, friends, colleagues and others and is staffed 24 hours a day.
All calls are completely confidential. Translation facilities for callers whose first language is not English, and a service for callers who are deaf or hard of hearing are available. Call 0800 917 1414.