WEST MIDLANDS Police are calling on residents to spot the signs of domestic abuse and help Change The Story as part of its Christmas campaign.
Across the UK police forces often see an increase in domestic abuse cases over the festive season and the New Year.
The mixture of people drinking more and possibly facing extra pressure – be it financial or strained relationships – can lead to physical abuse. It can also be a catalyst for psychological abuse with coercive and controlling behaviour creating fear in relationships and homes.
Domestic abuse comes in many different forms and does not always mean physical violence, it can also be emotional, sexual, financial or psychological abuse. It can also include coercive and controlling behaviour and affects the lives of many people from all different backgrounds regardless of gender, age, race, or religion.
The force said: “While we always urge people to come forward and report abuse – we are also encouraging potential abusers to pause and think about their own behaviour, this year. Allowing yourself to lose control can have devastating consequences, for your partner or those on the receiving end of your behaviour – and also yourself.
“Violence, coercive control and abuse are criminal offences and can lead to arrest and a prison sentence. Making a wrong choice could change your life.”
The campaign will run throughout Christmas and into early January when the police expect a seasonal rise in domestic abuse reports often fuelled by extra drinking or family pressures around Christmas.
It is being delivered across the West Midlands and wider region, in partnership with Staffordshire, West Mercia and Warwickshire Police forces. The films will be seen by tens of thousands of people across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
There were 39,073 reports of domestic abuse between April and October this year which is a 15% decrease on the same period last year where there were 45,773 reports to West Midlands Police.
However some of the reporting guidelines have changed in the past year, which means it’s not a direct comparison.
Detective Superintendent Simon Inglis, the force lead for domestic abuse, said: “We have specially trained officers to support survivors and we’re here around the clock to help you if you’re suffering.
“We have programmes to support people concerned by their own behaviour to change that pattern of offending and ultimately making those vulnerable to abuse, safer.”
To report domestic abuse you can contact West Midlands Police by calling 101, Live Chat on our website or via the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always call 999.
Alongside the West Midlands Police and Crime the force is asking anyone who needs help to visit its website no excuse for abuse here where there are details of those who can help including charities, refuges and specialist support for LGBTQ+ and male victims.