Nigel Goddard says ‘massive’ problem of domestic abuse a key focus as Christmas approaches
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Chief Superintendent Goddard said that over the Christmas and New Year period last year police regionally received a call every 16 minutes related to domestic violence.
In Derry and Strabane, from October 1, 2021 to September 31, 2022, there were thousands of incidents and crimes, he added.
"There were 3,062 domestic incidents from October to September 2021. This year it has gone up to 3,066 [October 2021 to September 2022]. In terms of crimes we've had 2,289 domestic abuse crimes recorded this year. It's massive. And that number will be hugely underreported.”
Ch/Supt. Goddard said domestic violence is a problem which is often prevalent at Christmas.
“We know at this time of year, Christmas and New Year, which is supposed to be such a happy family time, there is always a rise in domestic abuse and domestic incidents through a mixture, I guess, of alcohol and the fact it is a very pressurised time. People are trying to make it such a happy time,” he said.
Police are particularly mindful of the potential for domestic violence over Christmas but it is something they are focused on 365 days a year, he said.
“One of the messages we want to get across is that this is a district priority all the time. We are always working at it and we are always having a reasonable amount of success.
"In certain cases it is one of those hidden crimes that happens behind closed doors in domestic settings and we really need to encourage reporting and victims to have confidence.
"It's about people having trust coming forward and know if they do they will be dealt with appropriately and professionally, that they will be believed, and that the investigation and the legal and the court processes won't endure so long that it completely wears them down.
"We all know that the time a survivor or victim of domestic abuse makes that call and says, ‘I’ve had enough’, it is not the first time it has happened and it's been going on significant period of time,” observed the Chief Superintendent.