Increase in Domestic violence cases at Christmas

The PSNI have re-launched their domestic abuse campaign which aims to encourage victims of domestic violence in Northern Ireland to report incidents to the police.

The police advise that domestic abuse is more frequent during the Christmas period, and new figures show that there has already been an increase in reports of domestic violence this year. From April to September this year there have been 12,251 reports of domestic abuse made to the police, compared to 11,502 over the same period in 2010. The campaign ran by the PSNI encourages victims to take action and to be aware that "they no longer have to endure abuse" said Supt Alister Wallace.

Gail McLaughlin of Women's Aid estimates that a quarter of women in Northern Ireland have suffered domestic abuse and support the PSNI campaign.

Lenore Rice, a solicitor specialising in domestic violence cases at Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast, commented:

"That reported incidents of domestic abuse are up is hopefully a reflection of an increased willingness of women to take action. The truth is however that many women do not contact the police when they have suffered domestic violence, and the true extent of the problem in Northern Ireland is larger than the figures suggest.

"It can be difficult for some women to speak out against an abuser, and friends and family can sometimes play an important role in bringing attention to incidents of domestic violence. Any victim of domestic abuse should contact the police urgently and take legal advice on the measures they can take to protect themselves and their families."

A solicitor can advise you on where to find temporary accommodation, and can apply for emergency and subsequent Court Orders including Non-molestation and Occupation Orders, Injunctions and Matrimonial Home rights. Call Wilson Nesbitt solicitors in Belfast or Bangor at 0800 840 1363 for advice and information.