IT should be a time for celebration but for scores of people, Christmas brings tears, anger and shocking violence.
Police in Calderdale received an average of two calls every day about domestic violence during the festive period last year.
Police say they usually see a higher number of reports at this time of year than at any other,
An increased intake of alcohol, added financial pressures and extra family time often prove to be a lethal combination.
Superintendent Scott Bisset, from West Yorkshire Police, said: “The Christmas period has in the past seen a rise in domestic violence and we want to make sure that the message gets across that it will not be tolerated, whatever the time of year, and those who commit it will be tracked down and arrested.
“There are a host of reasons why women do not report the violence they are suffering to the police, of which fear of the abuser is the greatest. But I want to personally reassure people that we take all domestic violence extremely seriously.
“We have a very highly trained team of officers who are here to help and to deal with those responsible for this crime.
“We also work closely with our partner agencies and details of how to contact them are on our website.”
Reports of domestic violence in Calderdale have fallen over the last three years.
There were 62 reports of domestic violence made to the police between December 17, 2010 and January 1, 2011.
That is compared to 58 during the same period the year before, and 62 the year before that.
Detective Chief Inspector Terry Long, from Calderdale CID, said; “This represents a 30 per cent reduction between 2008 to 2009 and 2010 to 2011 in Calderdale in the number of assault victims.
“This is obviously a positive outcome and indicates almost one victim a day less in 2010 to 2011 than 2008 to 2009.
“The decline is most marked between 2009 to 2010 and 2010 to 2011. This has coincided with the merger of the Child and Public Protection Unit staff and Safeguarding staff into a combined unit in October 2010.
“This has been taken as a model for the force and is now being replicated across the county. It ensures that there is closer working between specialist domestic abuse and specialist child protection staff and has ensured that there is intervention in incidents which may have previously been dealt with as primarily child protection issues without full recognition of the presence of domestic abuse.”
Victims of domestic violence should call police on 999 or 101.
The WomenCentre in Halifax offers a range of support for victims and can be contacted on 01422 323339.
l See tomorrow’s Courier for the story of one woman who endured years of domestic abuse.