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14 February 2011, 06:00 | Updated: 21 February 2011, 16:10
Ten years after a domestic violence helpline started in Hertfordshire, we're being reminded Valentines Day can put extra pressure on relationships.
Calls to the helpline don’t necessarily spike on the 14th February but Sarah Taylor from the County Community Safety Unit says there can be fall-out after special occasions:
“There are times during the social calendar where tensions can get heightened in relationships. Christmas is a difficult time but what we tend to see is that it comes out in the following few weeks…so January for example is often a difficult time for people.”
The unit is stressing that although for many Valentines Day is a time of expressing love and romance, there can be a darker side to relationships which is often very hidden. In fact on average people experience 35 domestic assaults before reporting their partner to police.
Sarah told Heart: “The Hertfordshire Domestic Violence Helpline is completely separate from the local constabulary. Yes we do want to encourage people to contact the police to see people held to account and bring an end to the violence, but that isn’t the only route. The helpline offers completely confidential advice and because it’s local we can easily refer people to local support services if they want that.”
Just last November the unit also launched a website for victims of domestic violence: http://www.sunflowerherts.org.
You can contact the Domestic Violence Helpline Monday – Friday from 10am to 10pm on 08 088 088 088.