Police festive film aims to help youngsters affected by domestic abuse
Stark figures from Cleveland Police show that domestic abuse rises over the festive holiday period and every year thousands of local children are affected by it in their home.
The Force is running a seasonal campaign to encourage people to report domestic abuse so police can take action and work with our partners to provide support to victims.
The campaign is focussing on the toll domestic abuse takes on children, in recognition that this year’s Domestic Abuse Bill recognised children as victims – not just witnesses – of abuse, for the first time.
In Cleveland in 2021 (January until October, latest available figures) 5,927 children were recorded as present during domestic abuse incidents.
In December 2020, there were 674 children present during domestic abuse incidents including more than 50 reported at incidents which took place on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, when many other families are making happy memories.
Sadly the December and January holiday periods see officers attending more domestic abuse incidents than other times of the year. On average the Force deals with 46 reports of domestic abuse every day but from Christmas Eve until January 2, there were 57 incidents per day in 2020-21.
The Force’s seasonal campaign reflects this with a film of children writing letters to Santa and asks viewers to consider that for some youngsters, ‘there are things even Santa can’t fix’.
Click 'play' to watch the video below.
Domestic Abuse Detective Chief Inspector Karen Naunton, said: “We’re pleased that the law now recognises children as victims of domestic abuse. Witnessing any form of abuse is not something we want any child to have to deal with.
“The Christmas holiday period can be very difficult for families where abuse is happening as there is a combination of being at home more and other factors such as alcohol and stress.
“We’d like to remind anyone suffering domestic abuse that whenever you’re ready to report, we’re ready to help and that help is there for you and your children.
“We’d also like to encourage people concerned about youngsters to report on their behalf. We run an excellent scheme called Operation Encompass which works closely with schools to safeguard children who have been involved in a domestic abuse incident.”
To report domestic abuse call 101. In an emergency always dial 999.
If it is an emergency and you’ve dialled 999 but cannot speak then stay on the line and press 55 when prompted, then cough or tap in response to the operator’s queries. This is called the ‘silent solution’.
Service hours of partner agencies during the Christmas and New Year period
Phone service operating on the working days between Christmas Day and Monday 3 January inclusive. The office will be closed during that time with calls diverted. On Bank Holidays and out of normal office hours, they provide an on-call service for Safe House residents only.
Out of hours on-call is for our clients to access emergency support and can also provide advice to other agencies on refuge spaces through Routes to Support. The on-call is available 24hrs on weekends and bank holidays, including Christmas Day.
Christmas Eve - 8am – 3pm (3pm onwards is emergency on-call).
Wednesday 29 December – Thursday 30 December – 8am - 6pm.
Friday 31 December – 8am - 5pm (5pm onwards is emergency on-call).