South Yorkshire Police urges victims of domestic abuse to seek help

South Yorkshire Police is urging victims of domestic abuse to seek help as the force gears up for a traditional spike in offences over Christmas and New Year.

Friday, 18th December 2020, 7:43 am

Every year police forces across the UK see an increase in incidents of domestic abuse over the festive season.

Victims in South Yorkshire are being urged to seek help, with officers reminding people that as well as violence, coercive and controlling behaviour is now a criminal offence.

Chief Supt Shelley Hemsley, South Yorkshire Police’s lead officer for domestic abuse, said: “Coercive and controlling behaviour creates fear within a relationship, this is not normal.

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Victims of domestic abuse are being urged to seek help

“Examples might be a partner saying who you can and can’t see, telling you what you wear, checking your bank accounts, taking your phone away or stopping you seeing your family.

“Are you worried about being alone with your husband, wife or partner this Christmas?

“Are you spending your holiday in a family bubble with someone who you’re scared of?

“I’d urge you to seek help and support now, we are here for you.”

She added: “Controlling behaviour can often lead to other forms of abuse, but it’s also an offence in its own right. If you’re concerned, it’s always worth speaking to someone.”

Chf Supt Hemsley said domestic abuse also occurs between relatives, siblings and children.

“If you are spending time with family members this Christmas, look out for signs they may be living with abuse,” she said.

“Not just physical signs, but are they saying something about a relationship that sounds unusual? Or something that doesn’t sound normal to you?

“As a friend, colleague or family member, you can seek help and advice on their behalf. Please do call us, or one of the many organisations that will be working all Christmas.

“It’s been a challenging year, but what we can offer victims of abuse has not changed. We are here for you, we can listen, and we can take action.”

Anyone in danger should call 999 immediately.

If they are not in a safe position to speak, they should press 55, which will alert operators and the call will be transferred to the right police force.

Staff will listen to the call, assess the situation based on what can be heard in the background and respond accordingly.