Festive period sees a rise in domestic abuse

Sussex Police again saw a rise in domestic abuse calls over Christmas and New Year, with almost 1,000 incidents reported over a two-week festive period.

As in previous years, the force dedicated ‘Operation Cranberry’ patrols to respond to reports of domestic abuse between December 20 and January 1, with officers equipped with body-worn video cameras to help secure vital evidence.

In total, 979 incident calls were responded to across Sussex, which resulted in 257 specific crime reports of various kinds ranging from assault to harassment.

The day with the fewest calls was December 21, with 61, compared to a high of 127 on New Year’s Day. The Sunday before Christmas and Christmas Day were the next highest with 75 and 85 respectively.

Domestic abuse is always treated as a priority by the force but due to the regular increase in incidents throughout the festive season, it’s vital there are sufficient resources available to manage and respond to calls for urgent help.

Every day of the campaign, teams of uniformed officers worked a dedicated shift to attend incidents of domestic abuse as their sole priority over all other types of policing incidents.

Officers working on Operation Cranberry were also kept up to date by intelligence briefings about victims who may be particularly vulnerable and about specific offenders who may pose a higher risk. In addition to officers attending the homes of victims, teams of specialist detectives carry out follow-up investigations.

Detective Inspector Stuart Hale from the force’s Protecting Vulnerable People Branch said, “During this period we received an average of 73 domestic abuse calls every day, compared with an average of 63 such calls every day for the rest of the year.

“The increase over the holiday period is often down to higher alcohol consumption, combined with families spending more time than usual with each other. Relationships which are potentially abusive may come to a head at this time.

“The increase in incident reporting over the past year has also been particularly noticeable and we think it may be due at least in part to the fact that we are actively campaigning, with partner agencies, to raise awareness of this issue and the support available to vulnerable people in dealing with it.”

For advice and support, visit www.sussex.police.uk or call 101 or 01273 470101.