NORTHUMBRIA POLICE receives around 70 reports of domestic abuse every single day, says Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness, as she shares fears that this number will rise during the festive season.

Reacting to the latest figures published by the Force, the Commissioner has said that although the numbers sadden her, they come as no surprise.

The Christmas period, like a lockdown, often brings with it a rise in the number of incidents of domestic abuse. Although factors such as people spending more time with abusive partners, higher alcohol consumption and worries over money can make things escalate, they are in no way the cause, the commissioner also explained.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “It’s that time of year again. Christmas is supposed to be fun, but it can be a frightening and isolating time for those experiencing domestic abuse. Abuse that is there all year can really escalate and so it’s important we highlight these numbers so people are aware of the scale of the problem.

“Although I wish there was no suffering at all – the more reports made – the more people can be helped. Yes, 70 reports a day may shock some people but it’s likely there are many more suffering that we just don’t know about. Just because it’s happening behind closed doors doesn’t mean it’s not happening and children are in these homes, experiencing it too.”

Kim McGuinness’ comments coincide with the recent launch of a new survey from the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, who is seeking to reach as many survivors as possible to understand their experiences of trying to get help and support from their local domestic abuse services.

Supporting children and young people affected by domestic abuse has been a priority for the Commissioner through her Supporting Victims Fund. The CADA fund has also been used to provide support such as play therapy and counselling for youngsters across Northumberland Tyne and Wear. It is hoped 900 local children will have been directly supported through the CADA fund this year thanks to local organisations like Acorns in North Shields, Impact Family Services in South Shields and Wearside Women in Need.

Kim continued: “Ensuring young people are recognised as victims in their own right is so import. Far too many kids face Christmas cooped up at home with fear and not fun. It’s a horrific time for victims so please look out for others, be vigilant and report any concerns. We all need to realise that victims may be too scared and traumatised to seek help. We all have a responsibility with this.”

Wearside Women in Need’s Becky Rogerson, said: “The statistics are shocking, but we hope this is a positive sign that domestic abuse is less likely to stay hidden behind closed doors as our communities become more aware of the signs of this crime.

Our specialist domestic abuse services will be open through the Christmas break and there are local and national helplines offering confidential advice and support for anyone worried for their own, or someone else’s safety.”

Detective Chief Inspector Les Goodliff, of Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding Department, said: “Safeguarding vulnerable victims of domestic abuse and ensuring offenders are brought to justice is one of the Force’s top priorities.

“We know that domestic abuse can take many forms – it isn’t just physical. We also recognise it can take great courage for victims to take that first step in reporting incidents to police.

“We have worked very hard to raise awareness of domestic abuse, in all its forms, and continue to work with authorities, charities and third party agencies across the North East to ensure the vulnerable in our communities continue to be safeguarded.

“We are encouraged to see more people having the confidence to come forward and report incidents of domestic abuse. If you are a victim of domestic abuse, please reach out – you will be supported and we will fully investigate any report made to us.

“We would also ask family, friends and neighbours to report any concerns they may have so we can take positive action.”

If you need any advice or support, please don’t hesitate to contact Northumbria Police via their discrete ‘Tell Us Something’ page on their website, which has an instant ‘hide page’ function.

You can also reach out to one of the fantastic partner agencies who can help offer advice and support. Contact the freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247 or again search the Northumbria Police website.

Always call 999 in an emergency.