Domestic Abuse at Christmas (and why a brick may be the best Christmas present you buy this year!)

Research shows that incidents of Domestic Abuse rise at Christmas whilst most of us will be ‘enjoying’ more family time this Christmas for some it will be a time of terror and walking on eggshells.

In Portsmouth a shocking 38% of all assaults take place in a family setting.

District Commander for Portsmouth, Superintendent Maggie Blyth said: “Sadly we know from previous years that we see a spike in domestic violence at Christmas. For this reason it is a priority for us; we’ve introduced Domestic Abuse Champions in force and work closely with our partners, including domestic abuse charities such as Aurora New Dawn.”

Help is available and our poster campaign ‘Talk to your Friends’ remind people that we all have a part to play in stopping it. We need to talk about domestic abuse and ‘ask the question’ as people are much more likely to answer a direct question than bring it up themselves.

If you think a friend, family member or colleague is in an abusive relationship, try telling them that you’re concerned, say why you’re worried and ask if they want to talk to you about it. Let them know you want to help. You don’t have to know all the answers, and the important thing is to break the isolation.

Always prioritise safety – yours and theirs. The abuser won’t appreciate you getting involved so be careful about what you do and where and when you do it – be careful not to intervene personally and ring the police if there is immediate danger.

Support them in whatever decision he or she is currently making about their relationship while being clear that the abuse is wrong. Remember, what you are trying to do is be supportive, not to make them feel judged. It’s not always easy to just leave a relationship.

Stay in contact over time and help your friend, family member or colleague to explore what choices are on offer. Try to focus on their safety rather than the abuser or the relationship. Let them guide you in how best to support them. Don’t pressurise them, let them make their own decisions in their own time. Let them know that you will support them however and whenever they want.

Reassure them that the abuse is not their fault and that you are there for them. Remind them of their strengths, challenge them if they put themselves down or blame themselves, praise them for every step they take and let them know they have your support.

Councillor Dave Ashmore said: “Domestic violence isn’t just about physical abuse, it can be mental abuse or verbal abuse that can lead to things like violence, ruined families and self-harm. The Safer Portsmouth Partnership makes sure that people in such situations don’t have to suffer alone, there are services that can help. If you are suffering or if you know someone you think is suffering, you can find out more information by visiting the Safer Portsmouth website www.saferportsmouth.org.uk/friend

or by phoning  the services below.”

In Portsmouth we have services to help victims of domestic abuse and we also have services to support their children and to help perpetrators who want to change to manage their behaviours.

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse and need support, please get in touch with Stop Domestic Abuse (formerly known as Southern Domestic Abuse Service) on 023 9206 5494. In an emergency please always call 999.

If you’re being violent or abusive to someone and want help to change this behaviour then phone Up2U on 023 9243 7608

Stop Domestic Abuse also run the Outreach and Refuge services in Portsmouth.

Their experienced specialist team is on hand to discuss your concerns and needs, 9am – 9pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 6pm weekends and bank holidays.

Contact can be by phone, or they can arrange a face-to-face chat in a safe location. Stop Domestic Abuse can be contacted on 023 9206 5494 9am-9pm Monday to Friday and 10am-6pm weekends and bank holidays.

The Refuge service can accept women (aged 16+) and their children up to age 16 who are fleeing domestic abuse. Please telephone 023 92 291034 for assistance, advice or to make a referral. Please note that the location of the refuge is confidential.

Want to help? – Buy a brick!

“Stop Domestic Abuse urgently needs to buy a refuge in the South East Hampshire area.  Donations to ‘Buy a Brick’ will not only help us to build a home for victims of domestic abuse but will also help to rebuild the lives of the women and children who stay there. If you’d like to make a donation this Christmas please visit our website https://southerndas.org/buy-a-brick/ ”

Claire Lambon, Stop Domestic Abuse CEO.

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