Police warn over domestic abuse

WHILE most of us will join family and friends for a joyful celebration this Christmas, for some the festive season is a time of fear and much loneliness. For victims of domestic abuse, this time of year can be particularly difficult, as the stresses of Ch

WHILE most of us will join family and friends for a joyful celebration this Christmas, for some the festive season is a time of fear and much loneliness.

For victims of domestic abuse, this time of year can be particularly difficult, as the stresses of Christmas make tempers boil over and give rise to conflict.

Essex Police are reassuring residents that they will come down hard on anyone found to be guilty of domestic abuse over the festive period.

Detective Inspector Denise Morrissey, head of the domestic abuse and hate crime unit for the police division covering Uttlesford, said that the police would


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be emphatically responding

to any incidences of abuse this Christmas.

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"Raised tensions and often violence and abuse can occur within families spending long periods of time in close proximity over Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year's Day," she said.

"Essex Police will take positive action against all offenders. My officers will be working over this period and they will arrest and remove anyone committing offences.

"We will also be there to provide support for families and victims of abuse."

Domestic abuse can take many forms and is not limited to acts of physical violence. Alongside behaviour which causes physical pain, emotional abuse can be just as devastating.

This could involve making threats, damaging a partner's confidence, exercising control over their lives or excessive jealousy. Sexual abuse will also be treated extremely seriously by police over Christmas, including marital rape, which is a severely punishable crime.

Domestic abuse can even take the form of financial abuse - if a partner prevents you from getting a job, demands your paycheques, insists on having all bills in your name or does not allow you to spend money on yourself or your children, this could be domestic abuse.

Fortunately there is help available for victims and for people who suspect friends or family are suffering because of domestic abuse. The National Domestic Violence Helpline is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week - phone 08082 000247. The Victim Support Helpline, open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, can be contacted on 08454 565995.

If you wish to speak to Essex Police about domestic abuse, call the domestic

abuse and hate crime unit on 01279 625493.

Alternatively, check out the website www.refuge.org.uk for support and advice.

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