Victims of domestic abuse are being urged to lift the lid on their suffering and change their lives for the better.
As people make their New Year’s resolutions, Cheshire Constabulary is urging those affected by emotional, psychological and physical abuse to seek support and speak to those who can provide help.
Over the festive and New Year period, officers often see an increase in domestic related abuse. More than 800 crimes were dealt with in December of last year and in January 2016.
Domestic abuse affects people regardless of gender, social group, class, age, race, religion, disability, sexuality or lifestyle and can begin at any time whether in a new relationship or after many years together.
Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Lee, of the Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit, said: "This time of year can be one of the hardest for those suffering from domestic abuse. We know that victims often suffer in silence for the sake of their families so that they don’t ‘ruin Christmas’. But now is the time to be brave, have a fresh start and begin the year by having the courage to put a stop to it.
"We want people to know that 2017 can be the year they no longer have to suffer at the hands of their abuser. We have specialist officers available to listen, provide support and help victims move away from the situation they're in.”
Police & Crime Commissioner David Keane said: “I want anyone who is suffering from domestic abuse to know that if you come forward and speak to the Constabulary you will be taken seriously. There are specialist services across the county to make sure that you can get the support you need and you have a police service who are committed to help.”
As part of the campaign, the force has released an impactful video which it hopes will help victims recognise the words and tone of the voices and have the bravery to come forward.
In the video lies a leftover Christmas present in the home of someone experiencing domestic abuse. When the victim takes the lid off the box, angry, loud and frightening voices can be heard. When the lid is put back on, the voices disappear and it goes silent.
If you are worried about your behaviour support is available from Respect on 0808 802 4040
If you are a victim of domestic abuse or if you have a family member or friend who suffers and would like to talk to someone there are several places you can go to get support:
National Domestic Violence Helpline - 0808 2000 247
The freephone 24-hour helpline is run in partnership between Women′s Aid and Refuge.
Cheshire West and Chester Domestic Abuse Family Safety Unit − 01606 351375
Cheshire East Domestic Abuse Family Safety Unit − 01606 363532
Cheshire East Domestic Abuse Hub 0300 123 5101
Refuge Warrington Independent Domestic Abuse Service − 01925 243359
Halton Domestic Abuse Service − 0300 11 11 247
In an emergency dial 999, in a non-emergency situation- dial 101 to speak to the police.
For more information about Domestic Violence Protection Orders visit the domestic abuse section of the Cheshire Police website.