WHILE Christmas is meant to be a time of happiness, for some people it means they run an increased risk of being beaten up by their partner or family members.
Domestic violence spikes during the festive season which is why Sussex Police has special patrols dedicated to protecting the vulnerable victims of abuse.
Operation Cranberry will begin on Thursday December 22 and continue until January 2.
Last year Sussex Police were called to 758 incidents of reported domestic abuse from December 23 to January 2 alone.
Daniel Dugan from the force’s specialist crime directorate, said; “This will be the third year that we have operated these force-wide patrols and we anticipate that certain days will be particularly busy with calls for help, such as Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
“Victims can be assaulted by their partners or other family members and many of the incidents we have attended in the past have been extremely violent.
“The increase over this 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.
“Early attendance by police officers using video cameras increases the chance of gaining quality evidence, not just relying on the victim’s word against their abuser.”
Every day of the campaign, teams of uniformed officers will work 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 will also be 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 can carry out follow-up investigations into domestic abuse crimes.
Detective Sergeant Dugan added; “In previous Op Cranberry campaign, officers commented that they felt the benefit of having even more time to dedicate to victims which enabled them to provide better reassurance and gather more evidence.
“It is a sad reality that some people experience abuse repeatedly and there will be some cases where there is a particularly high risk of abuse occurring over the Christmas period.
“Operation Cranberry officers will also carry out regular checks on and visits to high risk victims identified by our specialist investigators, helping keep them safe and reassured in the knowledge that police actively seek to prevent repeat abuse.
“Behind the statistics are personal tales of fear and often violence.”
Sussex Police will continue to treat all domestic abuse incidents as a priority and to work closely with other agencies to keep victims safe.
Although the majority of domestic abuse occurs against women, nearly one in five victims of abuse is a man. Anyone who is suffering any form of abuse by a partner or family member is encouraged to report this by ringing the police on 101, or in an emergency dialling 999.
But all agencies can help to end abuse if they are made aware of it.
Police are encouraging anyone who is suffering abuse by a partner or family member to report this, if not to police, at least to a professional person or one of the agencies who specialise in providing expert support and advice.