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12 December 2016, 12:12 | Updated: 12 December 2016, 12:23
Essex Police has launched a new campaign fighting domestic abuse with a focus on getting offenders to recognise and change their behaviour.
Every year the force sees a rise in the number of incidents of domestic abuse over the festive period. In each of the last two years the force has recorded its highest daily number of reported domestic abuse incidents on New Year’s Day, with 146 incidents reported on January 1st 2016 and 135 the previous year.
It launched 2,984 investigations into allegations of domestic abuse between December 1st 2015 and January 1st 2016. During the same period the previous year - December 1st 2014 to January 1st 2015 - Essex Police began 2,510 domestic abuse investigations.
This Christmas, in a bid to reduce domestic abuse incidents and the serious harm caused to victims, Essex Police has joined forces with partners to launch the “Reflect” campaign, which is designed to engage with perpetrators and encourage them to “reflect” on their abusive behaviour and to seek help with The Change Project, an Essex-based charity.
The Change Project works proactively with men and women - who want to stop abusing partners or ex-partners - by changing their behaviour and attitudes.
Tania Woodgate, Service Manager at The Change Project said: "The Change Project is so pleased to be able to offer the only Respect Accredited community based prevention programme in venues across Essex. We have worked with over 400 families, since 2009, working to promote healthy relationships.
"From our experience, we recognise it is not easy for men and women to admit that they are abusive, but when they do, we are here to offer a programme that can help them change. It is really important that in order to break the cycle of domestic abuse, that we address the core of the problem, the abuser."
Essex Police's Deputy Chief Constable Matthew Horne added: "Domestic abuse destroys families, it is unlawful and it affects every strata of society. More and more victims are coming forward and their bravery in seeking help is often humbling.
"They can get help and support and we need those suffering abuse to know that. This campaign purposely focuses on those who abuse, control and coerce others and it gives them an opportunity to seek help to change their behaviour. If you recognise these behaviours in yourself you can get help too."
The "Reflect" campaign will feature a web film, poster and social media campaign. It will also use washroom and mirror stickers, carrying the "Reflect" message which will be displayed in GP surgeries, hospital, universities, colleges and pubs across Essex.
"Reflect" forms part of the wider Together We Can joint campaign, a joint initiative between Essex Police, The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Essex County Council, Thurrock and Southend Borough Councils and the NHS.
If you want to change your abusive behaviour please visit The Change Project www.thechange-project.org