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9 December 2016, 07:19 | Updated: 9 December 2016, 07:23
High-risk domestic abuse victims across Dorset will get extra support from police officers over the Christmas period.
There are an average 500 reports a month across Dorset but this tends to increase around Christmas - and the force is encouraging victims to speak out.
Officers will also target known offenders, to make sure they're sticking to things like court orders.
Contact details for reporting offences or getting support are at the bottom of this article.
From today (Friday 9 December), officers will be conducting extra reassurance visits to high-risk victims to ensure they continue to be safe and safeguarding measures put in place in relation to children and vulnerable adults are still effective.
Known offenders of domestic abuse can expect to be targeted by police to ensure they are abiding by any special conditions or court orders.
Detective Inspector Fiona Gaffney said:
"We want children and families throughout Dorset to be able to enjoy Christmas free from the fear of domestic abuse.
"It is a priority for Dorset Police to support victims of domestic abuse, encourage the reporting of these crimes and ensure those who inflict abuse are brought to justice.
"Remember, domestic abuse isn't just physical. Does your partner regularly control who you see, what you wear, how you use your phone? These are just a few behaviours which can amount to serious psychological and emotional abuse. Do not suffer in silence; get help and report this abuse now.
"Coercive and controlling behaviour has been a criminal offence since December 2015 and perpetrators need to know that reports of this sort of abuse will be pursued and prosecuted.
"Are you or someone you know suffering from physical, sexual, mental or emotional abuse? Or is there just something you want to ask about domestic abuse? Join our live web chat to observe the conversations or ask any questions you might have.
"I strongly encourage anybody who is suffering, or knows someone who is suffering from any form of domestic abuse to report it and seek help.
"Along with our own experienced and specially-trained officers who investigate these offences, we also work in close partnership with other agencies who can also offer support, advice and guidance.
"Dorset Police also have powers through Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders, which mean we can bar a suspected perpetrator of domestic abuse from contacting a victim and stop them returning to a victim's home, even if that location is also their home address."
Members of the public can also apply to the police under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clare's Law) for a disclosure on a suspected offender's past history, known as the 'right to ask'. Requests for applications can be made by visiting dorset.police.uk/do-it-online or by calling 101. The scheme is for anyone in an intimate relationship regardless of gender. Anybody can make an enquiry, but information will only be given to someone at risk or a person in a position to safeguard the victim.
Partner agencies can also request disclosure is made of an offender's past history where it is believed someone is at risk of harm. This is known as 'right to know'.
Detective Inspector Fiona Gaffney adds:
"Dorset Police are committed to tackling domestic abuse by working closely with partner organisations from the statutory, business and voluntary sectors. By working together to deal with domestic abuse we will succeed in protecting more victims and children from harm.
"We are grateful for the aid of the Tesco Bournemouth Extra store for their contribution in providing a number of mobile phones and sim-cards which supports vulnerable domestic abuse victims on occasions where their personal mobile phones must be taken as part of police investigations.
"Providing vulnerable victims with mobile phones ensures they can be contacted about their safeguarding and the investigation, as well as have the ability to make emergency calls."
Acting Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Colin Pipe, said:
"Reports of domestic abuse have been known to increase during the festive season and it is right that we put additional resources in place to support victims and prosecute offenders.
"We are now able to offer tailored courses to male victims of domestic abuse as well as Freedom courses to female victims. Domestic abuse is all about control and I would encourage victims to speak out - you do not have to suffer in silence."
For more information on support services available throughout Dorset visit dorsetforyou.com/dvahelp
Useful Contact Numbers:
Dorset Police: Report online by visiting: dorset.police.uk/do-it-online, or call 101. In an emergency always dial 999.
National Support for Victims:
National DV Helpline (24 hour) 0808 2000247
National Men's Advice Line (for male victims) 0808 8010327
National Stalking Helpline: 0808 802 0300
Local Support for victims:
Bournemouth Outreach Service 01202 209456
Bournemouth 24 hour helpline 01202 547755
Poole Outreach Service and 24 hour helpline 01202 748488
You First (Dorset County Outreach) 0800 0325204
Childline (for children) 0800 1111
Respect Helpline (for perpetrators): 0845 122 8609