A NATIONAL charity is urging residents to think about others this Christmas and help to take important steps towards making domestic violence a thing of the past.
The White Ribbon Campaign, which is based in Mytholmroyd, is urging people to sign a pledge to not commit violence against women and to speak out against any abuse they witness,
Chris Green, founder of the White Ribbon Campaign, said: “Women’s Aid is often asked by the media whether incidents of domestic violence are more frequent/worse during the Christmas and New Year period. Often at this time of year, the extra pressures which are placed on women and their families can exacerbate domestic violence incidents.
“That’s no excuse, but it’s an explanation. Alcohol is also a factor.”
Mr Green said there are specific ways in which the Christmas period impacts on the way women are abused, most notably in relation to financial abuse.
He said examples of this type of abuse include: withholding cash needed for basic necessities like food and heating, forcing women to give up work, putting all bills in the woman’s name and taking the woman’s salary.
“However, domestic violence is an ongoing pattern which does not subside during the holiday season,” he said. “The Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline experiences the same levels of calls during this time.
“We know anecdotally from our Helpline that women work really hard to keep the peace and calm during the Christmas season and the lead up to it, especially if they have children.
“Callers to the Helpline tend to seek support to get through the time rather than active ways to escape the violence.”
Reported cases of domestic violence in the Upper Valley have steadily risen over the last three years, with an increase of 109 from 2008 to 2011.
Detective Chief Inspector Terry Long, for Calderdale Police, said: “In the past 12 months Upper Valley has seen an increase in domestic violence incidents from approximately nine incidents per week to 10.”
The national 24 hour Helpline for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf can be contacted on 0808 2000247.
l The Hebden Bridge Times and Todmorden News are supporting the White Ribbon Campaign by encouraging 500 of their readers to sign an anti-domestic violence pledge by the end of the year. To do so text WRC to 78866.
Alternatively, you can sign the pledge form (right) and post or deliver it to White Ribbon Campaign, 1 New Road, Mytholmroyd or to White Ribbon Campaign, Hebden Bridge Times/Todmorden News, c/o Halifax Courier, PO Box 19, Halifax HX1 2SF.